Joint procurement of defence products like weapon systems, munitions, combat medical equipment
Instrument would fund up to 20% of the contract’s value
Scheme to allow for additional procurement with Ukraine, Moldova
The scheme adopted on Tuesday aims to incentivise the joint procurement of defence products and strengthen the European Defence Union.
The new instrument will provide for the joint procurement of defence products conducted by at least three member states. The aim is to address the short-term need to replenish and, if necessary, expand European defence equipment stocks, MEPs say.
They advocate doubling the size of the proposed fund to €1 billion. The money should fund up to 20% of the estimated value of the common procurement contract per consortium of countries.
The instrument should also contribute to strengthening the European Defence Union and the European defence single market, and to transform the European defence industrial and technological base, say MEPs. It also aims to reinforce common defence procurement, in particular to meet the goal of jointly procuring 35% of total equipment spending – up from 18% in 2021.
The European Commission and the European Defence Agency should also prepare a list of critical components of non-EU origin for which no alternative exists in the EU, as a basis for future measures to develop such components domestically.
Participation of third countries
Apart from EU member states, the instrument would be open to the participation of countries that are both Members of the European Free Trade Association and the European Economic Area – i.e. Iceland, Liechtensten and Norway. MEPs say that member states that engage in a joint defence product procurement may also agree to procure additional products with Ukraine and Moldova.
Zdzisław Krasnodębski (ECR, PL), rapporteur for the Industry, Research and Energy Committee, said:
“The procurement scheme should be perceived as an expression of European solidarity with those member states that have shown the greatest support to our Eastern neighbour attacked by Russia, as well as a tool to reinforce the EU’s defence technological and industrial base in the difficult times of war. In the current geopolitical context, it is crucial to strengthen the defence capabilities of member states as soon as possible, be it through national defence spending, NATO collaborative initiatives, the European Peace Facility or common procurement.”
Michael Gahler (EPP, DE), rapporteur for the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Security and Defence Subcommittee, said:
“Russia’s war against Ukraine made it obvious that we have to do more together in Europe if we want to protect our citizens, our values as well as the rules-based international order. Procuring defence equipment together is a first but essential step, as it will support member states in closing the gap towards their long-declared level of ambition in defence cooperation and will also improve interoperability of European armed forces as well as achieving better value for taxpayers’ money.”
The legislative proposal was endorsed during a joint vote by the Industry, Research and Energy Committee and the Committee on Foreign Affairs/Subcommittee on Security and Defence with 87 votes to 8, with 25 abstentions. MEPs also voted to open negotiations with Council with 106 votes to 8, with 6 abstentions – a decision to be confirmed by the full House during the 8-11 May plenary session. Certain elements of the legislation are also under the exclusive powers of the Internal Market and Consumers Committee.