EU to purchase weapons jointly in step towards military integration

European Union countries must buy weapons as a bloc in the same way they negotiated for coronavirus vaccines, the EU’s foreign policy chief said on Tuesday.

Josep Borrell urged member states to stay united to drive down prices as they look to replenish depleted stocks of arms and ammunition sent to Ukraine in their fight to repel Russia’s invasion.

“European armies have to share, they have to be interoperable, they have to go together as much as possible to replenish their stocks,” Mr Borrell said before a meeting of EU defence ministers in Brussels.

Joint purchasing will increase the interoperability of European armies because they would have similar technology, and the proposal could be seen as a step towards the distant future prospect of an EU army.

⚡️ Plans for a 5,000-strong EU rapid reaction force of troops are set to be implemented next year and there are already initiatives to pool defence research funding as the bloc deepens defence cooperation in response to the war in Ukraine.

Mr Borrell and Thierry Breton, the French commissioner for the internal market, wrote to ministers and EU defence industry representatives before the meeting.

“Member states need to immediately restore the readiness of their forces, address critical capability gaps and replenish depleted stocks,” they said in a letter obtained by The Telegraph.

“Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine has instilled even more urgency in our efforts,” the letter said.

The European Commission and the EU’s foreign policy service has set up a task force to coordinate “very short-term procurement”.

Telegraph

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