The European security and defence landscape is undergoing a tectonic shift. Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion has devastated large parts of Ukraine, killing many innocent civilians and deepening economic insecurity around the world.

It was a blatant violation of the UN Charter, which undermines the principles of a rules-based international order. Instead of dividing us Europeans, Russia’s aggression has united us more than ever, triggering a major revamp towards greater European integration and cooperation on security and defence.

Our response to the invasion has been fast and unprecedented, breaking many taboos along the way. Since the war started, we have provided vast amounts of political, economic and military support to Ukraine to defend its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, while hitting Moscow’s ability to finance its war of aggression through 11 comprehensive packages of sanctions.

When it comes to the vital issue of ammunition support, 26 states have signed EDA’s project arrangement for the collaborative procurement of ammunition in support of Ukraine, and to replenish stockpiles.

The project opens the way for our Member States and Norway to proceed along two paths: a two-year, fast-track procedure for 155mm-calibre artillery rounds for the Ukrainian Armed Forces and a seven-year project to acquire multiple ammunition types. In tandem, we have approved a further €1 billion under the European Peace Facility (EPF) to finance the joint procurement of 155mm artillery rounds and missiles in support to Ukraine. Together with the previous decision to swiftly deliver ammunition from existing stocks, we are committing €2 billion for this purpose, bringing the total EU military support to Ukraine through the EPF to €5.6 billion. This has incentivised deliveries of military equipment for more than €10 billion.

We are also training Ukrainian soldiers in the EU Military Assistance Mission Ukraine (EUMAM). In April, we reached our first target of training 15,000 soldiers, helping to defend Ukraine and its citizens. The new target is to train 30,000 soldiers, double, by end of year. At the current pace, we expect to reach this target before then.

In the broader European defence landscape, Finland has joined NATO, ending years of neutrality. Sweden is set to follow. And I am delighted to welcome Denmark into the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy, into EDA and into the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) (see EDM page 10).

Looking ahead

While our priority remains to provide Ukraine with the military support it needs to defend its sovereignty, we must also start to draw longer-term lessons for EU defence. Faced with the return of large-scale state to-state conflict to Europe, we must ask: what must our future military capabilities look like?

The adoption of the Strategic Compass in March 2022 signal led the EU’s determination to develop a more capable, deployable, interoperable and sustainable set of military capabilities. This means ensuring the readiness of European militaries, producing weapons that Member States can use together, also in the NATO framework, and strengthening the role of EDA in fostering defence innovation across the board. The work of our innovation hubs will be critical in ensuring that innovative dual-use technology benefits our armed forces (see EDM pages 30 and 32).

It is clear that it is not enough to increase our defence spending, but that we must above all use and increase resources in a more coordinated way: with cooperation among Member States and in coherence with NATO.

Implementation of the Strategic Compass across all its dimensions remains at the top of our political agenda. This also includes its partnership dimension and I am very glad to see that, just one year after the adoption of the Compass, we are making good progress also in strengthening our collaboration with partners in the field of defence.

We have signed an Administrative Arrangement between EDA and the U.S. Department of Defense that will serve as a framework for even deeper collaboration (see EDM page 16). In January, the third Joint Declaration on EU-NATO cooperation identified new areas of cooperation including resilience, space, climate and defence, as well as emerging and disruptive technologies.

And our close partnership with Norway also continues to bear fruit, especially in this new strategic context (see EDM page 20).

Bringing cooperation to the next level will mean that we work to avoid duplication and develop coherent and interoperable defence capabilities. At EDA, in the wider EU and with our partners, we are working daily towards that goal.


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