EU Parliament votes to fast-track Ukraine ammunition bill
BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union lawmakers decided Tuesday to fast-track legislation to boost ammunition and missile production in the 27-nation bloc to support the war effort in Ukraine.
Members of the European Parliament voted 518-39 with 31 abstentions to trigger an urgent procedure that should allow the adoption of the bill during the EU legislature's next plenary session at the end of the month, after which talks can start up with EU member nations.
Getting “badly needed ammunition" to Ukraine quickly is essential, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Tuesday during a joint press conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Kyiv.
“We have also discussed the key issues: the speed of the procurement and delivery of these ammunition because they are needed on the battlefield, already now,” Zelenskyy said.
The EU Parliament's move came after the leaders of the bloc's member nations endorsed in March a plan for sending Ukraine 1 million rounds of artillery ammunition within the next 12 months. The EU's executive arm, which von der Leyen leads, later announced a plan to assist Ukraine and to replenish European stocks by ramping up the large-scale production of ammunition with a budget of 500-million euros ($548 million).
Ukraine is poised to launch a planned spring counteroffensive to recover Russian-occupied territory, but the country has burned through ammunition at a furious rate, according to analysts. Western allies have provided ammunition, and the government in Kyiv has asked them to supply much more.
Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, welcomed the European Parliament's decision to trigger the urgent procedure he called a “decisive move.”
“We are ready to work with co-legislators to find an agreement urgently,” he wrote on Twitter. “For Ukraine, for our security, for a true European defense.”
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Samuel Petrequin, The Associated Press