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EU to boost ammunition production to aid Ukraine

The European Union is planning to allocate more than EUR 500 mln (USD 550 mln) to increase ammunition production in order to assist Ukraine and replenish the stockpiles of EU member countries.

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The plan, set to be presented by the European Commission, will offer subsidies to European arms companies to incentivize investment in ammunition and missile production. The plan will require approval from EU member states and the European Parliament to take effect.

This proposal is part of a larger EU effort to supply more ammunition and arms to Ukraine, with a specific emphasis on 155 mm artillery shells. The EU has already allocated EUR 1 bln (USD 1.10 bln) for ammunition and missiles that its members send to Ukraine from their stockpiles, and another EUR 1 bln for the joint procurement of such munitions, which has been delayed by debates over the degree to which they should be produced in Europe.

The newest element of this ammunition drive would provide incentives for arms companies to increase production. It would set aside EUR 500 mln from the EU budget to partially finance projects that boost capacity, and allow cohesion funds and coronavirus pandemic recovery funds to be used for this purpose.

Thierry Breton, the commissioner for the EU’s internal market, emphasized that the EU has a substantial industrial base for ammunition production, but it “does not have the scale today to meet the security needs of Ukraine and our Member States.” He called on the industry to switch to “war economy mode,” as the EU seeks to adapt to the needs of high-intensity conflict.

The EU’s plan is also seeking to supply Ukraine with one million shells within 12 months. As Russia’s invasion continues to escalate into a war of attrition, the Ukrainian government is appealing for additional assistance from the EU. The plan will help Ukraine to secure its borders, while also strengthening the defense capabilities of EU member states.

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