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Ukraine becomes part of European Defence Industrial Strategy

The strategy has already been allocated €1.5 billion from the EU budget for 2025-2027, with the possibility of expanding funding. 

Ukraine becomes part of European Defence Industrial Strategy
Photo: EPA/UPG

Integration and support for the Ukrainian defence industry has become one of the goals of the European Defence Industrial Strategy (EDIS), which was presented in Brussels on 5 March. Its implementation has already been earmarked for €1.5 billion from the EU budget over 2025-2027, with the possibility of expanding funding. This was reported by the Ukrainian Ministry of Strategic Industries.

"The goal of the strategy is to strengthen the European defence and technology industrial base so that the EU defence industry is able to meet the needs of Member States in a timely and sufficient manner," the ministry said.

The ministry added that the first-ever European Defence Industrial Strategy was prompted by Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine.

"Faced with the return of high-intensity war in Europe following Russia's unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the EU must quickly strengthen its defence posture. The rules-based global order is being severely tested, and countries in the EU, as well as beyond, are increasingly affected by tensions, instability, hybrid threats and armed conflicts. These developments pose a challenge to our security, prosperity and democratic values," the Strategy says.

The document was created taking into account the position of Ukrainian agencies on defence and protection against Russia's armed aggression, as well as the vision of the development of the European and Ukrainian defence industries.

Cooperation between the defence industries of Ukraine and Europe is envisaged, which will strengthen both sides and enable both to benefit from each other.

  • It is proposed that the Ukrainian industry could participate in the EU's defence support programme. Ukraine will be able to participate in joint procurement, and Ukrainian defence companies will be supported in building capacity and cooperation with the European industry.
  • The document also calls for stimulating cooperation between Ukrainian and European industries and exchanging information on standards and experience.
  • To strengthen cooperation, the EU will hold an EU-Ukraine Defence Industry Forum in 2024.
  • The EU will open an Innovation Office in Kyiv to facilitate interaction between EU start-ups and innovators and Ukrainian industry and armed forces.

The European Defence Industrial Strategy is accompanied by the European Defence Industry Programme (EDIP). This is a document that prescribes the mechanism for implementing the Strategy and is a legislative initiative in the future. It is to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of Europe.

The document states that in view of Ukraine's upcoming accession to the EU, the programme is obliged to strengthen cooperation with Ukraine at the industrial level. As part of the EU's future commitment to Ukraine's security, the EU should promote greater cooperation with Ukraine to improve its ability to meet urgent needs, and work towards harmonising standards and improving interoperability.

EDIP provides:

  • Open membership in European Defence Support Programmes for Ukraine.
  • A separate budget line to support Ukraine's defence industry and defence companies.
  • To finance this budget item, a share of the proceeds from frozen Russian sovereign assets could be used, among other things. This requires a decision of the EU Council on the proposal of the High Representative.

This step will support the capabilities of the Ukrainian defence industry, integrate it into the EU's defence industrial base, and bring the country closer to EU membership.

  • On 4 March, foreign media reported that Ukraine could become a member of the EU's defence industry support scheme.
  • As stated in the draft, Ukraine would have to comply with several rules. In particular, it must "continue to support and respect effective democratic mechanisms, including a multi-party parliamentary system and the rule of law, and guarantee respect for human rights, including those of persons belonging to minorities, thereby contributing to mutual stability, security, peace and prosperity.”
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