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EU eyes ‘groundbreaking’ change on Ukraine arms funding – FT

Officials are looking for a way to bypass the bloc’s founding treaty to pay for weapons for Kiev, the newspaper has been told

EU officials are seeking legal advice on how to unlock more military spending for Ukraine by circumventing a clause in the bloc’s founding treaty, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

The move would involve bypassing a section of the Treaty on European Union which forbids charging expenditure that has “military or defense implications” to the bloc’s joint budget. Such funding can be directly provided by member states, but individual governments can opt out of paying, even if they don’t vote against the spending itself.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, has proposed a legal task force to evaluate whether the section in question, Article 41(2), can be circumvented so that it doesn’t prevent Brussels from buying weapons for Ukraine to support it in the conflict with Russia, four people familiar with the matter told the British newspaper.

Read more

Westerners won’t have to ‘die for Donbass’ – EU’s Borrell

Kiev’s military effort against Russia is currently being funded through the European Peace Facility (EPF), which exists outside of the bloc’s joint budget. The legal theory is that Article 41(2) should apply only to the EU’s own military programs and not foreign states, the FT reported.

If the interpretation is applied, “it would be absolutely groundbreaking,” one source said. Talks, however, are at an early stage and may not end in Kiev’s favor, the newspaper reported. Even if changes are made, member states may challenge them in court.

While many EU countries support military assistance for Ukraine, Hungary and Slovakia are in opposition. They argue that continued weapons deliveries merely result in more bloodshed, as opposed to a Russian defeat, and stand in the way of possible peace talks. There are also neutral members, such as Austria, which favor non-lethal assistance only.

READ MORE: Ukraine can’t produce NATO-standard shells – WaPo

Last year the EU vowed to supply 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine by March 2024, but has failed to deliver on the pledge. Ukrainian officials have complained that assistance from Western donors has been lackluster in both amount and capability.

Moscow has said that no amount of foreign aid to Kiev will change the outcome of the conflict.


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