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European Commission sets out joint weapon-purchase plan

The European Commission laid out plans Tuesday that will allow European Union nations to jointly purchase weapons, amid growing appeals from Ukraine for more military support in their pushback against Russian forces. 

The initiative will allow the EU to replenish arms that have already been provided to Ukraine, the Commission’s Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said. 

“By contributing with the European budget, we are creating an incentive for member states – many of which have announced a significant increase in defense spending – to buy together,” he said. “This will make it possible to spend public money better, and to boost our European industrial base.”

The move comes after the Commission in May announced its intention to strengthen EU defense capabilities in the context of the Ukraine war. Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that a “special task force” would lead work on a European defense investment program in the third quarter of 2022. 

The Ukrainian government has been pressing NATO and the West for a greater supply of weaponry in order to sustain their ongoing conflict with Russia. In early July, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted that talks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had centered on the need to “speed up supplies of heavy weapons from the U.S. and other partners.”   

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