A draft paper of the European Commission reportedly shows that the conflict in Ukraine has exposed the adverse effects of years of low defense spending among bloc members.
After reading a draft by the European Commission document, media outlets reported that the European Union listed the weaknesses found in its defenses in the aftermath of the conflict in Ukraine.
According to the Bloomberg news agency, El Pais Spanish newspaper, the gaps in the report included missile and air defense systems as well land, air, or maritime combat capabilities like submarines and tanks. There was also satellite-based secure communication and cyber defense.
Due to their shipment to the Ukrainian government forces during a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, member states experienced shortages in ammunition and missiles.
The draft paper pointed out that the events in Ukraine have significantly deteriorated the security landscape in the EU and revealed the negative effects of decades of low defense spending by the bloc’s members.
The European Commission proposes a new investment tool called Defend EU to help centralize EU defense spending. The 27 member union should be able to use it. “to map, coordinate and incentivize joint development, procurement and ownership across the full life cycle of defense equipment.”According to the document, the EU should make joint purchasing of weapons a normal practice and not an exception.
Brussels is also looking to lift the European Investment Bank’s current exclusions on defense projects and eventually establish a new joint procurement entity for the bloc.
One other suggestion is the introduction of a single EU solidarity reimbursement plan, whereby members will help those countries which sent most weapons or ammunition to Ukraine in order to refill their supplies.
“EU initiatives to foster defense cooperation also help reinforce a fairer transatlantic burden-sharing and a more effective European contribution within NATO,”The document was read.
Based on the conflict in Ukraine, 60 billion euros more is expected to be added to EU defense expenditures, currently at 200 billion euros.
However, it acknowledged in the draft that the EU didn’t have much of a margin left to boost its defenses within its current budget that had been approved in 2020. In the paper, the authors suggest that there be a greater discussion within the EU about events in Ukraine with the ultimate goal of reviewing how the European Defense Fund can help.
Media reports that the document draft could be handed to EU ministers within the next week.