June 21. 2024. 3:18

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Romania can increase its defence production capacity, EU’s Breton says

Romania is able to play a more significant role in Europe’s defence industry, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said during a visit to Bucharest on Wednesday (11 April).

“We have identified 15 companies from 11 countries in Europe that can respond to this request for increased capacity to produce what is needed and Romania is one of these countries,” Breton told reporters.

Speaking alongside Romania’s Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă, Breton reiterated the bloc’s determination to support the Ukrainian government and to provide ammunition and capacities at its request in a “war of immense significance”, while Ciucă confirmed Romania’s support for strengthening the bloc’s defence capabilities.

At the invitation of Romania’s economy minister Florin Spataru, Breton visited two of the country’s defence industry factories – Plopeni Mechanical Plant and Dragomiresti Special Products Plant – subsidiaries of Romarm, Romania’s national defence company.

It also comes after the German group Rheinmetall announced earlier this month that a hub to be built in Romania to service Ukraine’s military equipment.

The hub, located near the border with Ukraine, will provide service for self-propelled howitzers, Leopard 2 and Challenger tanks, Marder infantry fighting vehicles, Fuchs armoured transport, vehicles and military trucks.

His visit was part of a ‘defence tour’ across member states to assess the state of industry capacities, with the aim to visit the 15 companies in 11 member states that would be capable to increase their domestic armaments production according to current and future needs.

Commission to know EU defence industry capacities in 2-3 weeks, Breton says

The European Commission is expected to know in two to three weeks how to proceed with plans to ramp up European arms production, which would also help secure a quick and steady supply to Ukraine, the EU’s Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton told EURACTIV Slovakia.

“We, the [EU’s] 27 member states, have decided together to do everything we can to support the request of the Ukrainian government since the beginning of the war. What we know now: It is very important to provide, at the request of Ukraine, ammunition and capabilities,” Breton said.

Romania can play a more important role in the defence strategy, Breton added in a joint conference with the Romanian head of the government.

He also referenced NATO’s 2% GDP spending commitment and the necessity of more member states investment in defence capabilities.

“I trust that Romania will be able to play an even more important role in the defence industry. And when a country spends more than 2% of GDP, this is the difference: You protect your country, but you also protect the European continent, and for that I thank you,” Breton said.

“Fortunately, we have what it takes to build the industry of defence in Europe again, but we have to do it together, and now […] we have decided that we must do everything we can to increase the defence capacity of our borders, including if it is necessary to put some money […] to increase our defence capabilities. And we will do it”, the Commissioner said.

Last month, the EU agreed on a plan to send 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine over the next year by digging into stocks and making a landmark move into joint procurement.

However, the second track of the plan, a landmark step into joint EU ammunition procurement, worth another €1 billion, is currently being held up by disagreements over which countries’ companies are eligible for contracts, as EURACTIV reported last week.

Track two of EU ammunition plan stalls over legal definitions

While EU member states agreed to jointly procure ammunition for Ukraine last month, they still have not decided on legal details, such as who the contracts should be awarded to.

EU ambassadors met on Wednesday (5 April) to discuss legal details …