The authors of the report seek to put into practice a commitment made by EU member heads of state, made in Versailles on 11th March to “’bolster European defence capabilities’ in light of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine, pursuing a strategic course of action to increase the capacity of the Union to act autonomously in the field of defence, in complementarity with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).”
The heads of state agreed to “increase defence expenditures, to strengthen cooperation through joint projects and common procurement of defence capabilities, to address shortfalls, to boost innovation, and to strengthen and further develop the EU’s defence industry.”
Calling for an increase in defence spending the report notes that member States are rapidly increasing their defence budgets, and twenty-two Member States are committed to allocating 2 % of GDP to defence spending. However, in reality, in 2022 only Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Estonia and Latvia met this commitment, which is also a commitment made by all NATO members.
The three lowest spenders are all EU member states.
The report also calls for EU Defence industries need to secure the production capacity necessary to process orders, as well as critical raw materials and sub-components.
The current war in Ukraine has exposed the low levels of ammunition stocks held by most European countries, including the UK, and an inability to replace ordnance sent to Ukraine due to a lack of production facilities.
“The brutal and unprovoked Russian war of aggression against Ukraine became a turning point for European security, and in particular for countries that are bordering Russia and Ukraine or have their territorial waters or exclusive economic zones adjacent to those of Russia and Ukraine.
“Those Member States have become the target of threatening rhetoric and hostile actions by Russia, supported by Belarus. Despite facing fundamental threats to their own security, they continue to support Ukraine in providing assistance, including military assistance.
“The Instrument should therefore provide for incentives for the participation of those of those Member States that significantly depleted their own stockpiles by granting higher Union contribution to actions where at least two such Member States participate. In addition, such a higher Union contribution should also apply for actions in which Member States decide to authorise the procurement agent to procure additional quantities of the respective defence product for Ukraine and Moldova.”
The report was authored by Zdzisław Krasnodębski, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, and Michael Gahler, Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Main image: Photographer: Denis LOMME Copyright: © European Union 2022 – Source : EP