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EU defence ministers to review €20 billion plan for Ukrainian defence


SPAIN- European Union Defence Ministers are meeting in Toledo, Spain on Wednesday at a former weapons factory, now a University, to consider long-term financial support for Ukraine’s military.

The setting is fitted as defence ministers review top EU diplomat Josep Borrell’s 20 billion euros (22 billion dollars) plan.

They plan to make five billion euros available for arms and training programmes for the period 2024 to 2027.

Borrell’s aim is to move EU military support for Ukraine against Russian aggression to a more structured basis and away from the separate payments made under the European Peace Facility (EPF).

“It has to continue after the war, whatever happens.

“It has to continue for the reconstruction and to give security guarantees to Ukraine,’’ Borrell said at the start of the meeting.

So far, Ukraine had received 5.6 billion euros in military aid from the budget mechanism, separate to the EU budget.

That reimburses EU member states for supplying arms to Ukraine and other non-EU countries.

EU treaties prevent the bloc from using EU budget funds for military projects.

The recent coup in Niger, the latest country in Africa’s Sahel region after Burkina Faso and Mali to fall into the military’s hands, is also set to preoccupy defence ministers.

The EU must reassess how to respond to the coup in Niger, a country that Borrell named an “essential partner’’.

For over a month ago, EU member states were cautious about the worsening situation.

Borrell declined to comment on possible responses.

Germany and France were pushing EU members to sanction the military putschists and organisations that support their regime, multiple diplomats said. (dpa/NAN)

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