Aerospace & Defence Czech Republic Ukraine

EU law will fast-track arms making in Europe, von der Leyen announces in Prague

| 2023-05-02 2 min read

EU law will fast-track arms making in Europe, von der Leyen announces in Prague

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The European Commission (EC) will propose a law to speed up weapons production in Europe, EC President Ursula von der Leyen said after a meeting with Czech President Petr Pavel in Prague on Tuesday, 2 May, Czech daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) reported.

She said in a statement: “I am glad to be able to announce today that the EC will propose tomorrow, in our College meeting, an Act in support of ammunition production in Europe. This Act will support the ramp-up and the speeding up of the manufacturing of ammunition in Europe.

“It will combine leaner regulation with swifter permitting procedures. It is all about speeding up and scaling up now the production of ammunition because Ukraine needs it now. The proposal will include EU funding of EUR 500mn. This is adding up to around EUR 1bn in total with Member States’ co-financing the EC’s funding of EUR 500mn,” her statement added.

Pavel underlined the importance of ammunition for the defence of Ukraine and a possible counter-offensive. 

The EU’s overall support to Ukraine totals over EUR 68bn, and daily tangible help must continue, von der Leyen said. “You, President, just returned from Ukraine. “You told me once again that one of their most urgent demands is ammunition,” von der Leyen said in a statement. Member States have already agreed to provide further financing for supply of ammunition,” she added.

Czech president backs Ukraine’s EU accession

Pavel, the soldier-turned-politician who served as NATO military committee chairman from 2015-18, acknowledged von der Leyen’s stances on Ukraine, China and EU enlargement. 

“I appreciate her consistency and courage in expressing opinions that are not always received with unanimous understanding,” he said and positively commented on von der Leyen’s stance on Ukraine’s possible future EU membership.

“We know it won’t be easy, but we are ready to face it and help Ukraine overcome all obstacles,” the president said, adding that the expansion of the bloc is in Europe’s interests regarding stability and security.

Pavel cautious on China

They also discussed relations with China, HN wrote. According to the Czech head of state, all democratic countries should cooperate on a common policy towards China. “To be able to jointly create a sufficient counterweight in strategic competition with China in all areas,” he said.

According to him, China and democratic countries do not share common values, they have different long-term strategic goals. “We have to look at our relations with China from this perspective,” added Pavel.

Von der Leyen also thanked Czech citizens for their solidarity with Ukrainian refugees, of whom the country has accepted the highest number per capita.