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Euractiv: EU aims Ukraine to join bloc’s defense industry support scheme

The draft regulation by the European Commission highlights the importance of contributing to Ukraine’s defense base as a means to support the defense readiness of the Union and its member states, Euractiv reported.
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Ukraine, EU flags on Kyiv’s central street Khreshchatyk. Credit: giz.de
Euractiv: EU aims Ukraine to join bloc’s defense industry support scheme

The European Commission aims to grant Ukraine full membership in the EU’s defense industry support scheme, the European Defence Investment Programme (EDIP), according to Euractiv, citing a draft proposal by the European Commission.

The proposal aims to contribute to the recovery, reconstruction, and modernization of Ukraine’s defense technological and industrial base while also integrating it progressively into the European framework. This move is seen as a step towards mutual stability, security, peace, prosperity, and sustainability.

The draft text specifies that Ukraine should be allowed to join any country consortium for joint procurement of military equipment, have access to EU funds, and VAT-exemption for joint ownership, Euroactiv reported. The EDIP regulation, to be presented alongside an overarching political EU defense strategy, marks a significant step as it integrates Ukraine more deeply than the mere mention in the political “Strategy.”

Ukraine’s special place in the Programme is intended to support European joint procurement of weapons and bolster the bloc’s military-industrial complex with EU funds. Historically, only Norway, which is not an EU member state, has been considered a full participant in such EU defense industrial programs. Associating Ukraine with EDIP is seen as a major development, given Kyiv’s expertise in using defense equipment and its accession process to the EU.

The draft regulation highlights the importance of contributing to Ukraine’s defense base as a means to support the defense readiness of the Union and its member states. It also addresses the challenges faced by the EU’s industry in speeding up production and the shift of Ukraine’s defense base to a war economy model due to the high-intensity conflict.

The cooperation between Ukraine’s industry and the European industry is emphasized as a core aspect of the ‘security commitments’ discussed by the EU’s diplomatic service (EEAS). According to Euroactive, the draft defense strategy mentions that Ukraine is and will increasingly be a crucial partner in the Union’s defense industrial sector.

The document also proposes a specific budget for the Ukrainian military-industrial complex, with a minimum of €1.5 billion, according to a European Commission official. However, Ukraine would need to abide by several rules, including upholding democratic mechanisms, the rule of law, and respecting human rights, to be considered an EU member state under the plan.

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