Germany believes that the EU cannot supply all the ammunition promised to Ukraine | International
Doubts are growing that the EU can meet its commitment to send one million artillery shells to Ukraine. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius admitted this Tuesday that reaching that goal on the agreed date, March next year, is unlikely. “We have to assume that the million will not be reached,” the German launched upon his arrival at the meeting of EU Defense Ministers in Brussels, where he stressed that the objective was too ambitious and unrealistic. The EU has already sent more than 300,000 howitzers to Ukraine, but as the war against Russia drags on and the EU club debates how to provide the invaded country with long-term “security commitments” – including economic support for the next four years—Brussels moves to encourage the industry to accelerate production and asks that they prioritize contracts and shipments to Kiev.
“The question of whether [la cifra de] “A million was once realistic,” Pistorius said in Brussels. "There have been voices that have said: 'Be careful, a million is easy to decide, the money is there, but the production has to be there too.' Unfortunately, those voices are now right,” said the German minister, one of the most skeptical of the measure, sparked by a proposal from the Estonian Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas. The debate comes as Member States analyze their capabilities, in light of the Russian invasion, to reflect that they need more conventional weaponry and counter-drone material.
Meanwhile, the high representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, assured this Tuesday that there is still room to achieve the objective. “Maybe we don't have a million [de proyectiles] for March, but that will depend on how quickly the orders reach the industry and how quickly it reacts,” said the head of European diplomacy. “One way to ensure that the million goal is met would be for defense companies to focus on sending more ammunition to Ukraine and exporting less to other countries,” he said.
“It must be taken into account that the European defense industry is exporting a lot: around 40% is exported to third countries. So it's not a lack of production capacity; is that they send their products to [otros] markets. Maybe what we have to do is try to prioritize production for the Ukrainians,” Borrell insisted.
The Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, assured the Defense Ministers that the plans launched by Brussels to incentivize arms companies have prepared them to be able to produce the agreed quantity. And he has given as an example the increase in production in Romania, Poland, Hungary or Bulgaria. “Ammunitions production capacity increased between 20% and 30%,” said Breton. “Our goal is to increase our production capacity by spring, now it is a matter of Member States placing orders,” he said.
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