EU eyes ‘groundbreaking’ change on Ukraine arms funding

The newspaper was told that officials were looking for a way to circumvent the bloc’s founding treaty to pay for the weapons to Kiev.

European Union officials are seeking legal advice on how to free up 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 overriding a section of the EU treaty that prohibits charges on expenses “Military or defensive implications” For joint balancing of the block. Such funding could be provided directly by member states, but individual governments could choose not to pay, even if they did not vote against the spending itself.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, has proposed setting up a legal working group to assess whether the section in question, Article 41(2), could be circumvented so as not to prevent Brussels from purchasing weapons for Ukraine to support it in the war. The conflict with Russia, according to four people familiar with the matter told the British newspaper.

Westerners won't have to

Kiev’s military efforts against Russia are currently funded through the European Peace Facility (EPF), which exists outside the bloc’s common budget. The Financial Times reported that the legal theory is that Article 41(2) should only apply to EU military programs and not to foreign countries.

If the interpretation is applied “It will be absolutely groundbreaking.” One source said. The newspaper reported that the talks are still at an early stage and may not end in favor of Kiev. Even if changes are made, Member States may challenge them in court.

While many EU countries support military aid to Ukraine, Hungary and Slovakia oppose it. They claim that continued arms deliveries will only lead to more bloodshed, rather than Russia’s defeat, and stand in the way of potential peace talks. There are also neutral members, such as Austria, who prefer only non-lethal aid.

Last year, the European Union pledged to supply Ukraine with one million artillery shells by March 2024, but failed to fulfill its pledge. Ukrainian officials have complained that aid from Western donors has been lackluster in scale and capacity.

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

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