EU negotiators on Friday sealed a plan to boost ammunition production in the bloc, as part of a push to arm Ukraine and restock depleted arsenals.
The 500-million-euro ($545 million) Act in Support of Ammunition Production -- or ASAP -- is aimed at ramping up the manufacture of artillery shells and missiles.
“This is yet another proof of the EU’s unwavering commitment to supporting Ukraine,” said Margarita Robles, the defence minister of Spain, which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency.
Brussels says it hopes to boost production capacity in the bloc to a million shells a year within the next 12 months as European allies struggle to keep up supplies for Ukraine’s fight against Russia.
Negotiations between EU member states and lawmakers were pushed through at express speed to put the plan in place.
It now needs final approval from the European Parliament and capitals.
The programme will provide money to firms looking to bolster their production capacity.
EU states have also implemented another two-billion-euro plan to send a million shells to Ukraine from their stocks over this year and purchase ammunition together for Kyiv.
So far the bloc is still far off its target of sending a million howitzer shells to Kyiv but the EU says that overall it has already supplied weaponry worth around 15 billion euros to Kyiv since Russia’s all-out invasion last February.
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