According to the EU’s foreign policy chief, EU countries are currently planning to fill gaps in their defence capabilities by increasing expenditures by €70 billion by the year 2025.
Defence minister Josep Borrell recently spoke at a meeting, where he announced that the European Commission is pushing for gaps in spending to be filled, and is also looking for ways to procure weapons jointly across all EU countries.
This would work in a similar way to obtaining vaccines during the pandemic, as a lack of coordination lead to shortages across the bloc in the early stages of the health crisis.
Borrell said in a statement: “The important thing is to go together, to avoid splitting the market, to avoid competition. We have to avoid what happened with the vaccines. Everybody together, altogether, makes for a better price, better quality, and better time.”
Rising demand for weapons
Weapons manufacturers have urged the EU to coordinate its weapons procurement policies, as they have started struggling to meet soaring demand due to the war in Ukraine.
Although manufacturers have boosted production, the industry had previously based their businesses on falling demand after decades of peace in Europe.
Some analysts have warned that the dash for weapons could lead to a highly fragmented market without new rules. They also argue that EU countries that have supplied weapons to Ukraine are now seeing gaps in their own stockpiles. This includes certain types of missiles, artillery grenades, and munitions.
In an interview, a senior researcher at Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Pieter Wezeman noted: “When it comes to really standard types of equipment, such as ammunition, where the sums are involved, the financial sums involved are not necessarily that high.
I think it is quite reasonable to expect that such cooperation can take place and again, within the NATO framework, we have seen really good examples of that.
But when we talk about larger projects, when we talk about, let’s say, the acquisition of combat aircraft, ships, tanks, there is a long history of attempts to operate within the EU or within NATO, and often enough they have failed.”
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