TALLINN – The European Parliament on Thursday adopted plans to increase EU production of ammunition and missiles to address the current shortage.
According to the text, agreed upon with the Council last week, the Act in Support of Ammunition Production (ASAP) aims to accelerate the delivery of ammunition and missiles to Ukraine and to help member states restock their arsenals. By introducing targeted measures, including 500 million euros in financing, ASAP aims to ramp up the EU’s production capacity to address the current shortage of defense products, specifically artillery ammunition, missiles and their components.
During negotiations with the Council, MEPs ensured that a more diverse range of projects receive funding, and that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would be eligible for a higher funding rate. They secured new financing that should not come at the expense of existing cohesion funding. MEPs also pushed to ensure that EU countries will provide Ukraine with the ammunition funded under this legislation, without it being subject to export restrictions.
"Today’s vote marks another step forward for Europe’s security and defense, and in our steadfast support of Ukraine in the face of the ongoing Russian aggression. We delivered on the most urgent aspect of the law: ensuring the provision of more ammunition for Ukraine. It is a testimony of Europe’s solidarity and for our collective security," the parliament's negotiating team leader Cristian Busoi said.
The legislation was adopted with 505 votes to 56, with 21 abstentions. It now also needs to be endorsed by the Council in order to become law.
The ASAP comes in response to a Ukrainian request to the EU to supply 155 mm-caliber artillery rounds and the agreement of the Council on March 20, 2023 on a three-track proposal on ammunition. First, member states have been invited to urgently transfer ammunition from their own stocks to Ukraine. Second, EU countries have agreed to jointly procure one million ammunition rounds. Third, the aim is to ramp up production capacity in the European defense industry. This should be achieved through the ASAP, which responds directly to the Council's call to deliver ammunition urgently, and if requested missiles too, to Ukraine and to help member states restock their supplies.