The EU foreign and defense ministers hope to close a political agreement on Monday on a plan to accelerate the manufacture and delivery of ammunition to Ukraine, as well as to undertake joint procurement and increase the production capacity of the European defense industry.
The first path of the plan proposes to deliver to Ukraine as soon as possible the ammunition reserves, mainly 155 mm, that the community countries already have or that they have already commissioned from the industry and for this, the high representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell has proposed using 1,000 million euros from the European Peace Support Fund (FEAP).
The FEAP is a program that, outside the community budget and made up of contributions from the Member States, is being used to finance the delivery of arms to kyiv.
To secure additional support for Ukraine and guarantee EU countries that their arsenals will be replenished, the plan's second track calls for the European Defense Agency to make joint purchases of 155mm ammunition or for at least three member states to partner up. to carry out those acquisitions.
For this second path, Borrell has proposed another 1,000 million euros from the FEAP, which would only be used for reimbursements of ammunition sent to Ukraine and not for ammunition that remains in the reserves of the Member States.
One of the questions still open is whether the joint purchases are made only in European companies or also in companies from third countries, although diplomatic sources indicated that the European Defense Agency "can only work within the European Union and with Norway."
If joint purchases are made outside the EDA, there are countries that consider that companies from outside the EU should be able to resort if those of the community club and Norway are not sufficient to meet the demand.
The EDA's "first project agreement signings" are expected to take place on the margins of Monday's meeting and the agency's first orders are expected to be in late May.
The EU has identified fifteen companies from eleven European countries capable of currently producing 155mm ammunition.
According to diplomatic sources, Spain has two of these companies: Expal and the Granada Ammunition Factory.
In December, the countries agreed to increase FEAP capacity by 2 billion euros, an amount that will now be spent on ammunition. So, they also left the door open for a further increase later of another 3.5 billion.
The third track of the plan seeks to increase the capacity of the EU defense industry.
The foreign ministers will also speak by videoconference with their Ukrainian counterpart, Dmitro Kuleba, and will address Russian accountability for the war, including the issue of Ukrainian children deported to Russia, but also the peace formula proposed by Ukraine.
They will also discuss Tunisia and support new sanctions against eight Iranian individuals and one entity for undermining human rights.
The part dedicated to Defense will allow the examination of a report on the first year of the "Strategic Compass", the EU's security plan for the next decade, which includes the creation of a rapid deployment capacity of 5,000 soldiers.
That capability will carry out its first exercises in Spain from October 16 to 21 with a preliminary phase in September, during that country's rotating presidency of the Council of the EU.
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