France Urges EU To Finance New Defense Strategy Amid Struggles Brought By Russia-Ukraine Conflict

By Thea Felicity

Mar 04, 2024 04:00 PM EST

(Photo : Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin (C) takes part in the final ceremony marking the graduation of French National Police officers cadets at the National Police Superior School (ENSP) in Cannes-Ecluse, south of Paris on February 28, 2024.

France joined forces with Poland and Estonia in urging the European Union to secure enough funding for defense programs. 

According to Bloomberg, this collective plea suggests adopting a financing approach reminiscent of the joint bonds used during the COVID-19 pandemic, aiming to address critical gaps in the EU's defense capabilities.

For now, it's expected that the European Commission will prepare a new defense strategy, but concerns linger over how to finance the proposed initiatives effectively. 

These initiatives in question seek to improve the EU's military acquisitions, safeguard critical supplies, foster collaborative investments, and support projects such as integrated air and missile defense and deep sea reconnaissance capabilities. 

However, the absence of a clear funding mechanism casts a shadow over implementing these strategic imperatives.

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Why The European Union Needs A New Defense Strategy

The recent escalation of Russia's invasion of Ukraine exposed the vulnerabilities within the EU's defense industry and ammunition reserves. 

Reliance on other countries for essential supplies and defense capabilities is no longer an approach for the European Union as it needs to strengthen its own production capabilities and increase spending on defense instead. 

The problem lies in financing. In response to this,, there are suggestions to issue joint debt within the EU, similar to the large-scale financial package implemented to address the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which amounted to €800 billion ($868 billion). 

For now, the proposed EU defense strategy aims to strengthen the defense industry's capacity, reduce dependencies, and enable rapid scalability during crises. It also emphasizes the need to increase munition stocks, improve competitiveness in military technologies, and improve cooperation with Ukraine.

However, the EU has faced challenges in meeting its commitments, such as the failure to deliver artillery rounds to Ukraine on time. This failure underscores the need for the European Commission to present funding proposals promptly to avoid future expenses.

This is where countries like France and Estonia advocate for the issuance of eurobonds to bolster the EU's defense industry, emphasizing the need for a unified approach similar to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ MORE: EU Blacklists North Korea's Defense Minister, Chinese Firms for First Time in New Sanctions Over Russia's War in Ukraine

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