France is allegedly blocking an EU decision to finance the supply of ammunition to Ukraine, which requires unanimity among member states.
Source: Polish news agency PAP citing a senior EU official
The decision to finance the supply of ammunition to Ukraine by the European Union was made at the EU summit in March. The €2 billion needed for this purpose are to be provided from the European Peace Facility.
The political agreement reached at the summit, however, has yet to be turned into a legally binding document. Discussions regarding this case are still ongoing.
Of the €2 billion, half is to be used to reimburse supplies of ammunition from member states’ warehouses. Currently, however, there are not enough missiles in these warehouses, which is why the idea of purchasing them from outside the EU has emerged.
"However, this was opposed by France. In this situation, the solution would be to procure ammunition from a third country on a donated basis, and then recover it from the warehouses of a member state by transferring other weapons to the third country. Talks are underway on this matter," an EU source told PAP.
A bigger problem is with the second billion euros, which is to be allocated for joint orders from European industry, i.e. de facto in Poland, France and Germany.
"The French blocked the EU decision on the second billion euros before Christmas. The draft contained a provision that the ammunition was to be reimbursed only on the basis of requests submitted by Ukraine. Paris, however, wants, without explaining why, this provision to be deleted. This would also mean the possibility of refunding ammunition which the Ukrainian side has not asked for. In addition to the decision on ammunition, France wants to add the possibility of compensating for missile deliveries," a senior EU source told PAP.
In the opinion of some diplomats, lobbying by defence companies may be behind France’s decision.
Most EU countries protested against such changes, including Poland.
Poland’s Permanent Representative to the EU, Andrzej Sadoś, pointed out at the ambassadors’ meeting in Brussels that the EU must not waste time and must provide Ukraine with ammunition supplies as soon as possible. Poland also expressed disappointment that the EU could not reach an agreement and indicated that it would be difficult to explain this to Ukrainian partners.
Talks on the matter are expected to resume on Wednesday.
Background: On 20 March, the Council of the European Union approved a plan to supply Ukraine with 1 million artillery shells within 12 months.
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