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The EU wants to strengthen its defense two years after the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Face &agrav; the Russian threat, the European Commission wants to strengthen defense capabilities on the continent. Brussels is proposing on Tuesday to finance part of the arms purchases decided jointly by the 27, as has already been the case. été made for ammunition.

“The threat of war may not be imminent but it is not impossible”, argued last week in Strasbourg the President of the European executive Ursula von der Leyen, calling on Europeans to “urgently wake up”.

It is therefore essential, she insisted, to “rebuild (…) and modernize the armed forces of the 27″, after decades of budget cuts in the wake of the end of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

The war in Ukraine has forced Brussels to innovate and the European defense strategy, to be presented on Tuesday by European Commissioner Thierry Breton, is inspired by some of the mechanisms put in place urgently, including the Asap ammunition purchase program. .

This program will make it possible, according to Thierry Breton, to increase the annual European production capacity to two million shells in 2025, compared to less than a quarter of this number before the Russian invasion of Ukraine launched on February 24, 2022.

“We are doing it in artillery munitions, we must now do it on all equipment necessary for our security”, pleaded the former French minister.

The European Commission therefore proposes to encourage joint acquisitions of weapons produced in the European Union. Because since the invasion of February 2022, nearly 70% of the weapons purchased by Europeans to help Kiev have come from the United States, underlined a European official on condition of anonymity.

< p>– Catching up –

The goal is to catch up and make European industry as competitive as its American rival. Brussels will therefore offer the 27 a “European mechanism” for arms sales close to the American model.

The EU wants to strengthen its defense two years after the Russian invasion of Ukraine

The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen during a plenary of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, February 28, 2024 © AFP – FREDERICK FLORIN

She thus suggests the creation of a “single catalog” after noting that member states do not really know who does what in defense Europe, argues this European official.< /p>

Another problem is that the United States has a strategic arms reserve allowing it to respond to urgent demand. Clearly, they are manufacturing a little more than what the arms contract provides for in order to build up this stock which can be mobilized very quickly if necessary and without a call for tenders.

The idea is that in the long term the Europeans will do the same thing by grouping together in groups of five or six to build up a reserve of specific equipment, in order to make European manufacturers as reactive as their American rivals.

Then, we must give visibility to European manufacturers by promoting firm orders in the long term, further explained this European manager.

The idea would be to reproduce what was done during Covid with vaccines, that is to say a framework contract, through which the Commission advances the money, allowing Member States to relaunch their industry in order to respond to this contract, according to the same manager.

In the longer term, the Commission also wants to participate in the launch of major European defense projects in areas such as cyber, space and the protection of the seabed after sabotage of gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea in September 2022.

This set of “bold decisions”, according to Ms von der Leyen, will make “adequate budgetary ambition” necessary, warned Thierry Breton, who puts it at around 100 billion euros.

Certain member states, including France, suggest launching a European loan in the same way as that implemented in the face of the threat of Covid. But for other states, like Germany, it is far from essential.

To get around this pitfall, Ms von der Leyen suggests using the exceptional profits from frozen Russian assets in Europe, amounting to up to 50 billion euros, according to Greece's special envoy for Ukraine, Spiros Lampridis.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116