The European Union has recently experienced shifts in federalist scope. Faced with the pandemic threat, it began to buy drugs together, and to contract a common debt. Cornered by the war in Ukraine, the EU has just entered a new dimension, this time by proposing expenditure linked to military aid.
The end of a taboo
The Union could finance the purchase and delivery of arms and other equipment to Kiev in the face of the Russian invasion, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen – former Minister of Defense announced on Sunday 27 February. German – stating that this was a first for the Union. This measure, to be adopted, must nevertheless be voted on by the Twenty-Seven.
Brussels offers member states to use an EU emergency funding line “to provide Ukrainian forces with lethal weapons, as well as fuel, protective equipment and medical supplies”ending the “taboo that the Union does not supply arms to belligerents”, said the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell. This weekend, the European Union experienced a shift. Germany, followed by Sweden, broke with its doctrine by announcing the delivery of anti-tank weapons to Ukraine.
The EU, a military force?
Is European defense taking a leap forward? Since the end of 2016, European defense has seen fragile and reversible progress: permanent structured cooperation – for equipment programs, and the European intervention initiative aimed at creating a common strategic culture. They find a new justification, in the face of aggression from Moscow. The European financial framework 2021-2027 includes for the first time a defense fund of 7.9 billion euros.
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A framework that had its limits, however. “It’s extra money for European arms companies. Until now, however, industrial players are not necessarily comfortable with this European interlocutor whom they do not know and which offers a mode of financing whose legal contours are still vague on the rights and obligations of each and the possible developments »explains Yannick Queau, director of Grip, an expert in international security and the arms trade.
Penalties upon penalties
This announcement of a grouped purchase of arms and military equipment takes place in a new train of European sanctions against Moscow. Brussels is proposing to close its entire airspace to all Russian planes, including “private jets of the oligarchs”; target exports from Belarus; to ban the Russian state media Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik which “will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war and to sow division in our Union”, an indiqué Ursula von der Leyen.
→ REPORT. Eat, protect yourself, or flee… Kiev at the time of war
At the same time, the European Ministers of the Interior met urgently in Brussels on Sunday February 27 to organize the reception of Ukrainians fleeing the Russian offensive and to discuss the status that should be granted to them, with why not automatic temporary protection.