In what it called a “historic step,” the European Commission agreed on Tuesday to a €500 million ($512 million) plan that would allow EU members to jointly procure weapons to address the urgent need to replenish a defense products deficit stemming from the Ukraine conflict.
The proposal is supposed to incentivize at least three EU members to buy weapons jointly, the body said in a statement. It also seeks to avoid competition among the bloc’s members for the same products and facilitate cost savings. The measure is expected to be financed by EU funds for the next two years.
“Today we are taking a historic step forward in European defense integration. As war rages on at Europe’s borders, we are responding to the call of EU Heads of State by presenting today a new instrument to support … the joint acquisition of weapons,” said Thierry Breton, the EU Commissioner for the Internal Market.
According to him, the move will not only help replenish the stocks that were depleted due to supplies sent to Ukraine, but will also provide an incentive for member states to buy together. The proposal also aims to boost the capabilities of the European defense industrial complex by ramping up its manufacturing capacities.