The European Union (EU) will use funds intended for infrastructure projects in poorer countries to support weapons production across the bloc. The EU has lifted its long-held ban on using resources from its central budget to provide cash to the arms industry. The €2 billion armament programme, called “ASAP”, aims to manufacture one million 155mm artillery shells for Ukraine and replenish national stockpiles that have been depleted following Russia’s invasion last year.
The European Commission will release €500 million to help increase production capacity at factories producing ammunition and missiles inside the EU. Member states can supplement this amount from the EU’s cohesion funds. In the past, these funds were used to develop airports and roads in poorer parts of the bloc to narrow the poverty gap.
Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for Internal Market, said the move was “totally compatible with the treaty”. The plans still need to be fleshed out before countries will know how much funding can be used to boost weapons production.
The European Parliament must also vote on the proposals before they become a realityhttps://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2023/05/03/eu-brussels-ukraine-weapons-arms-building-roads/.
If implemented, this will likely affect EU funding available for projects such as the Czech HSR (VRT).