“The EU needs to expand its military investments in order to replenish the stockpile of weapons provided to Ukraine in the short term.” This was stated on Wednesday by the head of the EU foreign service Josep Borrell, presenting the recommendations of the European Commission to address the shortcomings of European defense.
According to the European Commission, in the coming years, EU countries intend to spend an additional €200 billion on weapons. “We do not want to enter an arms race and we do not seek to push the world towards a third world war. But we need to ensure joint arms purchases to compensate for the shortcomings of European defense and the mass disarmament of EU countries in previous years,” Borrell was quoted as saying by international media.
He noted that between 1999 and 2014, EU countries carried out “massive and asynchronous disarmament”. According to him, the conflict in Ukraine confirmed the importance of restoring the defense capabilities of EU countries. “This is the first conflict of such intensity in Europe since World War II. Thousands of soldiers have already died in it, hundreds of thousands of fighters and hundreds of tanks are involved on both sides. This requires us to act,” Borrell said.
In a document published by the European Commission, the EU’s priorities for ensuring its defense capabilities will be “liberation from Soviet weapons, replenishment of weapons and ammunition and significant strengthening of anti-missile and anti-aircraft systems.”
In the future, this plan includes the purchase of tanks, artillery, armored vehicles, aircraft, helicopters and drones, as well as cyber defense systems.
In the long run, this plan includes the joint development of new modern European weapons of a new generation, mainly tanks and aircraft.
The EC is also proposing a full shift to joint purchases of weapons and military equipment to avoid duplication and fragmentation in both EU armies and the European defense industry. All these steps are presented as complementary and strengthening NATO’s defense capabilities.