Macron calls for joint arms purchases for Ukraine as he meets Lithuanian president

  • 2024-03-13
  • BNS/TBT Staff

PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron called for joint arms purchases for Ukraine and increased production in Europe as he hosted his Lithuanian counterpart Gitanas Nauseda in Paris on Tuesday.

"We must continue our efforts to secure the European Union's military support in providing the weapons Ukraine urgently needs. I want us to agree as soon as possible on the European Peace Facility so that our countries can make joint purchases of military equipment and then hand it over to Ukraine," Macron said.

"These efforts must go hand in hand with strengthening Europe's defense industrial and technological base. It is today still too fragmented among its member countries, suffers from insufficient funding and is dependent on large-scale procurement from third countries," he said.

According to the French leader, 78 percent of the military equipment purchases by European countries since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 have been made outside the EU.

"We have to work to reverse this trend so that our industries benefit and build their networks everywhere in Europe," said Macron.

"This means investing more, including through innovative solutions," he added.

According to the French president, beefing up Europe's defense industry would contribute to creating the continent's strategic autonomy in security and defense and would complement NATO's existing instruments.

For his part, Nauseda welcomed France's decision to provide additional military support worth 3 billion euros to Ukraine in 2024.

 "However, we must realize that our support for Ukraine has so far been insufficient – it has been enough for Ukraine to resist but not to win," the Lithuanian president said. "The common goal of Europe and the allies should be Ukraine's victory". 

According to Nauseda, European leadership in mobilizing support for Ukraine is "vital".

"Each of us today must be a leader whose decisions will bring Ukraine's victory closer. We need to find ways to address the issues of Ukraine's air defense, the supply of artillery and missiles, and to implement the EU's commitment to supply 1 million rounds of ammunition. We need to consider all possible options to ensure that the necessary support reaches Ukraine," he said.

Nauseda also emphasized the need to bolster NATO's eastern NATO flank, which faces the most serious conventional threats.

"This requires a strong commitment from all allies to step up the deterrence and defense posture of the transatlantic community to counter the biggest and most immediate security threat that Russia poses," he said.

Nauseda noted that Lithuania has boosted its defense budget to 2.75 percent of GDP this year and is building infrastructure to host allies, establishing a national division and modernizing its armaments.

"It is crucial that all allies recognize the gravity of the current security situation and also increase their defense investments," he said.

Nauseda is in Paris to present this fall's Season of Lithuania in France, which will feature hundreds of events aimed at introducing Lithuanian culture and history to the French public.