European Union leaders are pushing for an investment program to be quickly put in place to boost production in the bloc’s defense industry due to the war in Ukraine, according to draft summit conclusions December 15 and 16.
“The European Council (…) calls on the Commission to rapidly present a proposal for a European defense investment program to strengthen the capacity and resilience of the European defense technological and industrial sector, including small and medium-sized enterprises,” says the draft, seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
The document is likely to be modified before the summit.
EU leaders will also press the bloc’s Executive Commission and the European Defense Agency to step up their efforts to identify military shortfalls and coordinate joint defense procurement, in particular to replenish their materiel reserves, which have been depleted. in support of Ukraine.
The EU has long urged member states to pool their arms buying efforts rather than drive up prices by competing with each other or making individual deals with suppliers from outside the bloc.
Countries have been reluctant to do so, but the war in Ukraine – which Russia calls a “special operation” – and the pace of Western arms deliveries to kyiv have added a new sense of urgency.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said this month that the EU and its member states have so far provided Ukraine with weapons and military equipment worth at least 8 billion euros.
At their Brussels summit, EU leaders will also call for speeding up infrastructure works aimed at facilitating rapid military deployment across Europe, according to the draft.
The construction and modernization of infrastructure such as roads and bridges is part of the EU’s “Military Mobility” project, which also aims to simplify and standardize procedures for military personnel and equipment when they cross borders by road, rail, sea or air..
Military experts have long complained that abandoned or non-existent infrastructure and red tape hamper the rapid movement of personnel and equipment, which would be crucial if NATO allies were to send reinforcements to Eastern Europe in the event of a conflict.
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