Ukraine, the EU’s war plan: one million rounds a year. Resources also from Pnrr

Produce one million rounds of ammunition per year. This is the aim of the plan launched today by the European Commission. This is the third pillar of the approach adopted by the Council on March 20 to urgently supply Ukraine with surface-to-surface and artillery ammunition and, if necessary, missiles. The first pillar provided for the shipment of weapons from state arsenals, with a total reimbursement of one billion euros from the European Peace Fund.

The second element introduces joint procurement for the purchase of ammunition – and there was still an agreement on this today among the twenty-seven at Council level – and the third concerns precisely joint production. “This will help provide Ukraine with more ammunition to defend its citizens and will also strengthen our European defense capabilities,” said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

In order to increase production, the Commission therefore had to present a proposal for a regulation – called Asap, which means Law to Support Ammunition Production, but also to as soon as possible – and placed on the table a budget of EUR 500 million for the reallocation of two instruments, the European Defense Fund and the future Edirpa, the instrument intended to support collaboration between Member States in the defense procurement phase, to be part of the 500 million allocated by the Member States as a de minimis scheme. And it is not excluded that states can use recovery funds to finance specific industrial projects for weapons production. The recovery and resilience instrument “was specifically designed for three main actions. Firstly, the green transition, the second is the digital transformation and then there is resilience – explained the EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton – Therefore, increasing industrial capacity in specific actions to support industrial projects, which will increase our resilience and reinforce our security, are also clearly part of this.”

The plan involves the eleven countries with the strongest defense industry, including Italy, and fifteen companies in the sector at European level. The idea is to accelerate the measure to adopt it by June. Breton says he is “confident that in 12 months, with the right support and agility, we will be able to increase our production capacity to 1 million rounds per year”.

The French commissioner then conveyed the message that the EU also supports NATO’s objective of spending 2% of GDP on defence, a target that is currently a ceiling but that many at NATO would like to see become the basis already at the next summit in July in Vilnius. “All member states are now committed to increasing their defense spending. We also strongly encourage this, to increase spending to at least 2% of their gross domestic product,” Breton said. “This means that we are really committed to providing ourselves with the means and adapting to this new geopolitical situation, which we believe will last for some time”, he added, dispelling suspicions that the EU has distanced itself from the original peace project.

Meanwhile, the EU ambassadors gave the green light to the Council’s decision to jointly acquire ammunition and missiles, again in the amount of one billion to be withdrawn from the European Peace Fund, the aforementioned second pillar. Now the written procedure will begin for the final approval scheduled for the next few days. As with all decisions taken regarding foreign and security policy, unanimity will be required. As it has done in the past, Hungary must apply constructive abstention in order not to block the measure, although Malta and Ireland (two non-NATO countries) have also expressed reservations.

The agreement provides for the joint purchase of ammunition and missiles produced by economic operators established or produced in the EU (or Norway), or assembled in the EU with production chains partly outside Europe.

Source: IL Tempo