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EU market chief aims for €100 bn EU defense fund, ensures million shell production for Ukraine by spring

EU Internal Market Commissioner insists on meeting target of manufacturing 1 million shells for Ukraine by spring, unveils €100 billion EU defense fund to boost military capacity.
Ordnance for M777 gun. Source: US Embassy in Ukraine
155mm ordnance for M777 gun. Photo: US Embassy in Ukraine

On 9 January, EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said he wanted to set up a massive €100 billion EU defense fund, and he also insisted the EU would meet its target of manufacturing a million artillery shells for Ukraine by the spring, according to Politico.

In March 2023, the EU set a 12-month deadline to donate ammunition to aid Ukraine in countering Russia’s aggression, but the EU defense industries have struggled to scale up production, casting doubt on meeting this target. In November, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius stated that delivering the rounds on time would be unfeasible. However, Breton remains steadfast in his commitment.

Breton, who’s also in charge of EU defense, is slated to unveil the European Defence Investment Program (EDIP) on 27 February. This initiative, envisioned as a significant funding source, is intended to enhance joint weapons procurement and position the EU on a more militarized stance through the increased production of domestic arms and ammunition.

“I believe we have to have a huge defense fund to help to accelerate, even probably in the amount of €100 billion,” he said at an event organized by the liberal Renew Europe group in the European Parliament.

Breton says EU leaders will discuss defense challenges at a summit in early February, adding that decisions regarding the allocation of EU budget funds to the defense industry would require approval from the European Council.

“I want to tell you here today that we will stick to our commitment [of producing 1,000,000 shells],” Breton stated.

Breton emphasized that achieving the target of a million shells by March or April is “absolutely” feasible, noting that this would require reducing exports to non-EU countries and ensuring that member governments exert pressure on their weapons industries to increase production.

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