Scholz urges EU partners to increase arms deliveries to Ukraine
- 01 Feb 2024 10:30 am CET
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At the start of the EU summit in Brussels, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz once again called on the other member states to increase their arms deliveries to Ukraine.
"We can't rely on each other to do this, we have to say it 27 times: We want to do everything we can to ensure that Ukraine is in a position to defend the country," said Scholz on Thursday ahead of the consultations with the 26 other heads of state and government.
The special summit will not yet decide on additional arms aid. "But this discussion must be started urgently. Because we know that the concrete arms aid planned so far from the individual member states is not enough," said Scholz.
After the USA, Germany is Ukraine's largest arms supplier. This year, more than seven billion euros (around 6.5 billion Swiss francs) have been earmarked for this in the federal budget. Scholz complains that the other EU partners are too cautious in their commitments. This mainly refers to economically strong countries such as France, Italy and Spain.
According to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, Ukraine can hope to receive European military aid worth at least 21 billion euros (around 19.6 billion Swiss francs) this year. Compared to what has been provided so far, this would mean an acceleration of support, the Spaniard explained on Wednesday. In the past almost two years since the start of the Russian war of aggression, the value of European military aid for Ukraine has totaled around 28 billion euros. This includes weapons, ammunition and other military equipment.
The EU Commission has asked the member states for their planned contributions in recent weeks. According to Borrell, the figure of 21 billion euros for 2024 is not based on feedback from all 27 EU member states. It could therefore rise further. Borrell did not say which EU countries have not yet reported any data.
Scholz complained "that the figures we have now seen are not very meaningful". It was not clear to him who had provided the information and whether the data related to one year or several years. "I believe it is now necessary for everyone to do more and also discuss this at home, because it is a very considerable effort to mobilize additional funds now," he said. "But it is necessary."