EU officials on Tuesday unveiled an ambitious proposal to massively boost weapons production and procurement in the bloc to shift from a reliance on US arms and in reaction to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The European Commission says the 27-nation bloc is facing a new "security paradigm" with an expansionist Russia operating a wartime economy as it presses into year three of the conflict with Kyiv.

"To counter the return of high-intensity war on our border, we have decided to kick up a gear," EU internal market commissioner Thierry Breton told reporters in announcing the new initiative.

The European Defence Industrial Strategy aims, over the long term, to give incentives to European arms manufacturers to invest more, make their production more agile and – for the first time – to collectively catalogue what they have available.

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"We must take more responsibility for our own security, while, of course, remaining fully committed to our NATO alliance," said European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager.

"We need to get that transatlantic balance right, irrespective of electoral dynamics in the US," she told reporters, in a nod to Republican White House hopeful Donald Trump casting doubt on the US commitment to its NATO allies should he win reelection.

"An improved ability to act will make us a stronger ally," Vestager said.

The question of financing the ambitious initiative is problematic for a continent that has trimmed defence investment for decades following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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The objective of the Summit was to develop strategies that would enhance support for Ukraine and safeguard its interests amid unparalleled security and existential threats.

- Funding questions -

Breton has spoken of an ultimate need for some 100 billion euros ($110 billion) for the European Union to rival the Pentagon and US defense industry.

To kickstart the project, the commission plans to set aside 1.5 billion euros from the EU's current budget that runs to 2027 – an amount Vestager acknowledged "is not a lot of money" given the scale of the initiative.

"But it can still work as an incentive, as a bonus... because the real funding for a stronger defense comes from member states and that funding will increase over the years to come," she said.

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Some countries, such as France, back an idea of EU bonds to finance a buy-European weapons production base, similar to what was done to finance economic recovery from the Covid pandemic.

But "frugal" countries such as Germany are against that, concerned it will centralize budget power in Brussels and override national sovereignty over defense issues.

There is also a debate over using money generated from frozen Russian assets in the EU to help fund the initiative, though the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that "is still not decided and there are different views" among member states.

- 'Kick up a gear' -

While the EU and member countries have supported Ukraine financially and with military weapons and equipment, arms production has come up short with the bloc missing a target to give Kyiv a promised one million artillery shells.

Breton said the bloc was now providing Ukraine around 80,000 shells per month.

The EU's 27 member countries spent more than 100 billion euros on defense purchases between Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine and June last year, Vestager said.

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"Almost 80 percent of that was spent outside of the European Union, and the US alone accounted for more than 60 percent of this spending. This is no longer sustainable," she said.

The EU's proposed strategy aims to have trade of weapons within the bloc reaching 35 percent of total value of the EU defense market by 2030.

Member states will also be encouraged to procure European weapons to a level of at least 50 percent of their defense budgets by 2030 and 60 percent by 2035.

A defense industrial readiness board would be created to bring together member countries, the commission and the EU's top diplomat, currently Borrell, to coordinate.

One mechanism would be set up for common arms procurement across the bloc, and another to support defense cooperation including through potential tax breaks.

Importantly, Ukraine would be treated as a "quasi member" of the initiative, which would open the way for it to more easily purview and tap arms production and supplies in the EU – should its war against Russian troops be ongoing then.

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Comments (2)

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John
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@ jack the troll GETs A padded ROOM.

Jack please spend a few nano-seconds catching up on the historically accurate info I posted below your post. I have more info to share, but just want to make sure you are able to assimilate those facts first.

In contrast, I did appreciate your stated desire to get Ukraine fighter planes quicker. Maybe you could explain how that program can work without the MRGA stalling House reps having to sign off. Both putinrump and his MRGA cult have made it very clear they have no intent of helping Ukraine get more weapons.

Everyone here knows putinrump becoming president again would greatly increase the risk of russia not only winning that war, but subsequently attacking other EU countries. You are banging your head against the wall trying to sell anything different to Ukraine and its supporters. If you did truly want help Ukraine you would need to first give up you delusion that putinrump cares about Ukraine winning.

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Barruntaranchos
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With Putin in Russia and Trump in the US, the EU has no choice but stop buying weapons to the US and start producing its own. It is not going to happen in one month, but there is no option. The EU can´t finance D.T. and his "Make USSR Great Again!".

John
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@Barruntaranchos, Well said. For failing to reign in putin's MUGA minions in the USA government, the EU and other international allies have been forced for national security reasons to fully build out their own defence industry.

The USA defence industry will slowly wither, until it can again prove to its Democratic allies that it has found a means of preventing russia's MRGA party from ever holding its Congress hostage again. In the last 5 months allies have witnessed the USA become an unreliable partner in what should be a shared goal of stop putin's growing aggression.

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Barruntaranchos AND JOHN THE LOON FROM CANADA, GET A ROOM!
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@Barruntaranchos, I really wish shameless idiots like you above, Barruntaranchos, you you below, John the loon from Canada, would stop politically prostituting this tragic and unnecessary war in Ukraine. Had President-elect Trump been rightfully reinstated to the White House, instead of the massive ballot fraud that placed the current corrupt, incompetent, senile, illegitimate Joe BRIBEn in the White House.(BRIBEn extorted one billion US dollars in federal foreign energy aid to Ukraine, threatening to revoke that aid if the Ukrainian authorities continued to investigate Burisma), this goddamn senseless war would have never started.
Fact: Putrid started massing his troops along the border of Ukraine in Russia and Belarus in March of 2021, just two months after Joe BRIBEn was inaugurated. Joe BRIBEn didn't say boo. He did nothing to furnish offensive arms to Ukraine to deter Putrid's invasion. He had/still has 150 F15s, F16, and A10 Wharthogs mothballed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base outside of Tuscon, Arizona he should have announced he was forwarding to Ukraine in a military lend-lease program not unlike what was done by the US before they entered World War II.
Joe BRIBEn opened the door when he publicly stated he was OK with a "minor incursion".
You two are just a few of the shameless idiots on these comment threads who constantly spew your psychotic Trump Derangement Syndrome rhetoric. You are shameless, arrogang fools.

John
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@troll jack wants to GET A padded ROOM!,

Well its hard to know were to start in debunking a post with so many factual errors and a strong dissociation from reality. I appreciate you put a lot of effort into fabricating it though. Please write more of that length.

Firstly you are getting 'elections' mixed up with 'insurrections'. The 2020 election of the 46th President Joe Biden was won by his 306 vs putinrumps 232 electoral college votes. All putinrump's numerous false claims were debunked and Mike Pence dutifully certified the vote. Fox News was eventually fined $800 million for continuing to spreads some of putnrumps false claims. So then putinrump traitorous loser that he was set about to foment and insurrection to over throw legally elected President Joe Biden. He is now facing fellony charges for that plus a boatload of other crimes.

Putin's current war started on Feb 24, 2022. This 28 January 2022 BBC quote should help with your confusion:

"US President Joe Biden has warned there is a "distinct possibility" Russia might invade Ukraine next month". White House National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said. "He has said this publicly and we have been warning about this for months.”

---continued-----

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John
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@troll jack wants to GET A padded ROOM!,

Biden's spent everything they legally could to support Ukraine without further congressional approval. This is presently being stalled at putinrumps request in the US House. 

Putinrump and his MRGA minions both historically, and to this day, continue to try to thwart any support for Ukraine.

According to wikipedia's article on the Trump - Ukraine scandal: 



"The Trump–Ukraine scandal was a U.S. political scandal that arose from the discovery of U.S. President Donald Trump's attempts to coerce Ukraine and other countries into providing damaging narratives about 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden and giving misinformation relating to Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. "



"Trump blocked payment of a congressionally-mandated $400 million military aid package in an attempt to obtain quid pro quo cooperation from Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Trump released the aid after becoming aware of a whistleblower complaint about his activities relating to Ukraine,"


You can't make this stuff up folks......putinrump ...what a joke.

Joseph King
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@John, Did you know that putinrump tried to get a Casino license in Australia but it was denied because ASIO (Australia's CIA/MI-5) advised the government of the day that putinrump was not of good character for the Casino license due to his close ties with Organised Crime. Can't remember if it was US or #russiaTerroristState organised crime he was close too but either one is just as bad.

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