Versailles (dpa) – Ukraine is to receive more weapons and other equipment worth half a billion euros from the European Union to fight the Russian invasion. Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign affairs chief, made a proposal to this effect at the EU summit in Versailles, France. The Spaniard said on Friday that he was sure that the heads of state and government would agree to the plan, and that it should be implemented quickly. An initial package of 500 million euros for weapons and equipment had already been approved at the end of February.
The day before, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his colleagues had already wrestled deep into the night at the Palace of Versailles, trying to decide on the right course of action in the Russia crisis. On the second day of the summit, a decision was to be taken on stepping up the deterrence vis-à-vis Russia. “I think everyone agrees that things have changed since 24 February,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said on Friday, referring to the day when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began.
The Estonian stressed that it was also a question of jointly acquiring military capabilities that are too expensive for individual states. “I absolutely agree with the idea of investing more in our defence,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo also said. According to the draft summit statement, there must be decisively more and better investment in defence capabilities and innovative technologies with a view to better protecting citizens.
At the end of February, Germany had already announced a one-off “special fund” of 100 billion euros and a significant increase in annual defence spending in response to the Ukraine war and Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin’s threats against the West. In future, more than two percent of gross domestic product is to be invested in defence every year.