With such a large chunk of the EPF financing already pledged to Ukraine, and the EPF’s high-profile successes, it inevitably leads to questions about whether the Facility’s budget should be increased. Domm says that is a discussion for Member States, but he believes it is one that has its merits. “It’s about credibility, and matching resources to the level of political ambition.”
He also says any future financing needs to consider how so much has changed in supporting Ukraine in such a short time. “In the beginning, this was about the reimbursement of stocks, because it was about taking stocks off the shelf to support Ukraine’s right to self-defence,” Domm says. “Now we see that the conflict is potentially going to be drawn out, and that the defence industrial base needs to be mobilised. And so, we have tried, through the EPF, to enhance the possibilities to allow for Member States to deliver equipment through procurement.”
The same is true of maintenance and repair, he says, so that if an EU country gives equipment to Ukraine that later requires maintenance, then the costs of that might also be eligible for reimbursement. That could mean that for Ukraine it is also less burdensome to take on so many different types of Western equipment and at short notice. “The support to Ukraine under the EPF is evolving,” he asserts.
Even as the EPF is set to move further into procurement support, Domm is eager to underline that the Facility’s goal is to support the EU’s external policy of the EU as part of the EU’s integrated approach to external conflict and crisis, the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), and in line with the EU’s strong commitments to international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
“It should be a complimentary debate about the additional support that can be given to the defence industrial base,” he adds. Even if the Facility is a CFSP instrument, “we should be alive to the read-across to defence industrial policy. In due course, there can be positive spillover effects.”