According to diplomats, a European Union plan to spend up to €20 billion on military aid for Ukraine faces opposition from EU members and may not survive in its current format.
In July, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, recommended that the EU establish a fund of up to €5 billion each year for four years as part of broader EU security pledges to help Ukraine in its defense war against Russia’s invasion.
EU defense ministers prepare to consider €20 aid plan
However, as EU defense ministers prepare to consider the plan in Brussels on November 14, diplomats say several countries, notably EU heavyweight Germany, have expressed qualms about committing such substantial amounts so far in advance, Euractiv reported.
According to the EU’s diplomatic service, the EU and its members have been among the most significant contributors of military aid to Ukraine since Russia commenced its invasion in February 2022, delivering weaponry and equipment valued at roughly €25 billion.
Borrell: The EU should be ready to continue supporting Ukraine
Josep Borrell’s proposal was an attempt to place help on a more permanent foundation by establishing a fund for Ukraine aid within a larger fund, the European Peace Facility, which aims to compensate EU members for military aid to other nations.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said the EU should be ready to continue supporting Ukraine, as US aid may be reduced.
“We have many problems that will be a test for the EU. First of all, Ukraine, where the prospect of victory over Russia takes time. And we, the Europeans who have the necessary means to do so, must be politically ready to continue to help Ukraine, given that US support is likely to decrease,” Borrell said.
The argument over military aid comes as EU states consider a proposal to provide Ukraine with 50 billion euros in economic assistance.
Commitment to sending 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine
The EU now faces criticism for other parts of its military assistance to Ukraine. Many officials and diplomats believe the EU will struggle to reach a target of sending 1 million artillery shells and missiles to Ukraine by March 2024.
Focus on bilateral agreements by individual EU nations with Ukraine
Long-term EU military aid must be linked with security packages negotiated by individual EU nations with Ukraine, making it difficult to agree on an expense while those talks are ongoing.
At last month’s EU summit, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated that the current focus should be on such bilateral agreements.
Some EU countries have also claimed that domestic budgets are strained, so they cannot make a sizeable long-term commitment.
According to Euractiv sources among EU diplomats, the likelihood of Borrell’s initial proposal being implemented was decreasing, but several nations still wanted an EU commitment to Ukraine.