Today in Brussels at the defence configuration of the Foreign Affairs Council, defence ministers discussed critical infrastructure resilience, defence industry financing, and support to Ukraine.
“Today we are in a situation, where we need to make real decisions, not discuss the need for making decisions. With our actions, Estonia aims to show the way. Last Friday, we opened a fast track procurement process for acquiring 155mm ammunition rounds in the worth of 280 million euros. Over the next four years, nearly 30% of our defence budget will go towards ammunition. This is a clear signal for the defence industry: go ahead and shift production into next gear,” said the Estonian Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur.
The ministers of defence also received the latest information on the status of the million rounds of ammunition initiative. “We have not met the expectations set out in spring. If member states are neither prepared to provide from their stocks nor able to increase production, we have to refurbish ammunition and procure from third states. Expired ammunition cannot go to waste. Ukraine does not have time to wait. Estonia has made its contribution from stocks and is prepared to give more,” said minister Pevkur. “At the same time, the EU military aid mission for training the Ukrainian armed forces has fulfilled its objectives well. However, although the objectives have been met, there is room here to expand training,” added Pevkur.
With NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the defence ministers discussed critical infrastructure protection. “Recent incidents show that undersea infrastructure is vulnerable. To deter future attacks and ensure greater security, we need to raise the level of situational awareness, which is where there are opportunities for the EU and NATO to work together,” explained Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur.
The ministers also agreed on a joint statement that raises the need to facilitate the development of European production capacity and strengthen the European defence technological and industrial base. “We supported the joint statement, which outlines the bottlenecks in financing the defence industry as well as the possible solutions. In other words, solutions for how to allow the defence industry to use banks to finance the investments they need to make right now to help boost manufacturing capacity faster,” explained Pevkur.
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