High Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, is convinced of the possibilities for the European military industry to produce 1 million ammunition per year.
He said this in Brussels on Tuesday at a press conference that took place after the meeting of the EU Council on Foreign Affairs at the level of defense ministers, commenting at the request of journalists on the statement of German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius that this task is unrealistic.
“It depends on what we are talking about. Do we talk about production capacity? Do we talk about concrete deliveries, which are already in the front line, being ready to be used? Do we talk about orders? It is a whole process. In which moment are we describing the goal? According to Commissioner Breton, the European industry has the capacity to produce 1 million rounds a year. It does not mean that we [will] already have 1 million shots ready by March. So, maybe we will not have 1 million [rounds] ready by March, but it will depend on how quickly the orders come to the industry, and how quickly the industry reacts. Both things could be true at the same time. The capacity of the industry, and the deliveries to the industry and from the industry to us, and from us to Ukraine,” he said.
Borrell reiterated that 1 million rounds of ammunition “remains a political goal.” “It is ambitious, but it remains our goal – and we will continue pushing for it, doing everything, every day, in order to deliver quicker and more ammunition,” he added.
The High Representative also said that during the meeting he again stressed the urgency of increasing military support to Ukraine, in particular, in order to meet the medium-term needs of the Ukrainian army. “This means air defence – we reviewed the work in progress of the training of the pilots for the F-16, winter equipment – because it is clear that the war will last during the winter, and ammunition. We are doing a lot, but everybody agreed that we have to do more and faster. This is something that I have repeated so many times: more and faster. Time … is being measured not only in [the] destruction of infrastructure, houses, it is [also] being measured in losses of human lives,” Borrell said.
He again turned to the issue of supporting Ukraine in the long term. “It is part of our security commitments. We are working with the ministers on the framework of the security commitments,” the High Representative noted.
Borrell recalled that he would present the framework of Ukraine’s security obligations in December, and the relevant EU mission would go to Kyiv for talks with the Ukrainian side in the first days of December.