Commission agrees 1.5bn euro defence programme to boost European industry

The European Commission is releasing 1.5 billion euros to boost joint defence investment. The programme should allow member states to scale up production to meet growing Ukrainian demand while benefiting Europe’s own industry.

The 27 European member states each have their own military, with no joint strategy or coordination of purchases. “This leads to inefficiency and waste of taxpayers’ money,” European Commission vice-president Margrethe Vestager said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Member states buy most of their military equipment from outside the EU, with 60 per cent coming from the US. “That is no longer sustainable, if it ever was,” Vestager said.

"The priority is to create a pan-European defence market, where the added value is spread throughout the EU"

While the issue is not new, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has accelerated willingness to reform. European stocks are running out and industry seems unable to keep up with demand from Kyiv, despite most member states sharply increasing their defence spending.

When Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo and Commission president Ursula von der Leyen visited Kyiv in February, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated his call for faster deliveries of ammunition and weapons systems.

On Tuesday, the College of Commissioners gave the green light to the European Defence Industry Programme. The Commission, member states and the High Representative for Security Policy will have a coordinating role and there will be a legal framework to encourage member states to make joint purchases.

The aim is to jointly procure at least 40 per cent of defence equipment by 2030. By then, the Commission wants at least 50 per cent of the budget to be spent in the EU. By 2035, the target is 60 per cent.

“The priority is to create a pan-European defence market, where the added value is spread throughout the EU,” Vestager said.


European Commission vice-president Margrethe Vestager © PHOTO MONASSE T/ANDBZ/ABACAPRESS.COM

Related news

Website preview
Defence minister: Belgium will supply Ukraine with F-16s
Belgium will supply F-16s to Ukraine in 2025, Defence minister Ludivine Dedonder of francophone socialist party PS told Bel RTL Wednesday morning.
Website preview
Europe moves towards integrated defence market
Negotiators from the European Parliament and member states have agreed on creating a temporary fund to encourage EU countries to increase the...

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels