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EU strikes tentative deal to boost local ammo production

by editor

The EU has reached a tentative deal on a package meant to help local defense firms get more weapons flowing to Ukraine and Europe. 

The agreement — formally dubbed the Act in Support of Ammunition Production, or ASAP — will earmark €500 million to help EU-based manufacturers expand their production capacity for both ammunition and missiles. 

The move is the final stage of a three-part plan to get Ukraine 1 million ammo rounds within a year and also ensure Europe’s own stockpiles don’t run dry. 

The first stage involved countries sending Ukraine whatever they could from their own stockpiles, while the second stage featured countries coming together to jointly purchase ammunition — a first for the EU. 

Now, the EU is looking longer term at how it can build out its defense industrial base, which has traditionally lagged behind places like the U.S. Officials are hoping that by pumping EU money into the bloc’s own firms, countries can better secure their supply lines and buy locally. 

The new rules also attempt to give EU ammo and missile manufacturers greater access to both public and private financing through a possible “Ramp-up Fund.”

That said, there’s skepticism that €500 million is enough to make Europe’s defense industry a powerhouse. Discussions are ongoing to see if more money can be fed into the efforts down the line. 

In the meantime, EU leaders say they are on track to deliver Ukraine the promised ammo rounds on time — although some are doubtful it can meet the target. 

The ASAP deal will now need final sign-off from the Council of the EU, which represents EU countries, and the European Parliament. The Council said the measure could be operational by the end of the month.

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