The European Commission has developed a three-pillar plan to increase the production and supply of ammunition in the EU, with the aim of supporting Ukraine in defending against Russian aggression. The first pillar involves an immediate increase in the supply of 155mm caliber artillery shells to Ukraine. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, will propose an additional support package worth one billion euros for the country. The second pillar calls for the European Defense Agency (EDA) to purchase 155mm shells to fill gaps in EU countries' stockpiles and secure Ukraine’s long-term supply. The third pillar aims to ensure the long-term increase of the EU’s ammunition production capabilities. The plan will be presented to the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) on March 2, 2023.
Source: Der Spiegel
How does it matter?
The proposal comes in response to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting depletion of ammunition stocks in both Ukraine and EU member states. The plan aims to increase the supply of ammunition to Ukraine immediately, secure its long-term supply, and increase EU production capabilities. This will also help address the rapidly decreasing ammunition stocks of EU countries and their inadequate supply production capacities. The EU hopes to lower ammunition prices with joint procurement procedures modeled on the Joint Armaments Co-operation Organization (OCCAR). The plan is of particular urgency given the increased demand for ammunition due to the military aid provided to Ukraine, and the shortage of ammunition for the country invaded by Russia.
EU ministers will discuss the plan at an informal meeting in Stockholm on March 7 and 8, and a decision could be taken at the European Council in Brussels on March 23 and 24. Twenty-five of the 27 EU member states, plus Norway, have already expressed interest in participating in the project. The European Commission sees itself more as a mediator and organizer in this process, with the actual perpetrators being identified in the governments of the member states and the arms industry. If the plan is successful, it could result in a sevenfold increase in production, with one million 155mm ammunition produced by 2023 at a cost of around four billion euros.