UPDATED – EDA brings together 23 countries for common procurement of ammunition
Originally published on 20 March 2023 – updated on 24 March with addition of five Member States
23 states have signed the European Defence Agency (EDA) project arrangement for the collaborative procurement of ammunition. The project opens the way for EU Member States and Norway to proceed along two paths: a two-year, fast-track procedure for 155mm artillery rounds and a seven-year project to acquire multiple ammunition types. Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Spain, France, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden and Norway have signed. More Member States have already expressed their intent to join the initiative soon following national procedures. In full respect of sovereign national decisions and without prejudice to the specific character of the security and defence policy of any EU Member States, the project may be used to replenish Member States’ national stockpiles and/or aid Ukraine.
The ‘Collaborative Procurement of Ammunition’ project was set up in record time by EDA to answer the call to procure ammunition collectively and more quickly by aggregating, coordinating, and agreeing contracts with the European defence industry.EDA’s project provides a solid framework for Member States’ intention to jointly procure urgently needed ammunition for Ukraine. This project sends a clear message to industry and strengthens the EU’s support for Ukraine following Russia’s war of aggression.
Common procurement is the best option to achieve cost reduction from economies of scale, while allowing Member States to purchase ammunition according to their national needs and supporting Ukraine. The arrangement, which is flexible and inclusive in nature, allows all remaining EDA Member States to join the initiative at a later stage.
Head of the Agency, HRVP, Josep Borrell said: “Today, we take a step forward. We are delivering on our promises to provide Ukraine with moreartillery ammunition. With today’s signature, 18 countries have signed up to aggregate orders and place them together with the industry through the European Defence Agency. The Ukrainian authorities have been clear about their needs and this EDA project is part of the EU response. By procuring together through the EDA framework and mobilising financial support from the European Peace Facility, we will deliver to Ukraine more and faster. We are again breaking a taboo and unlocking the potential of EU cooperation in joint procurement.”
Fast track procedure for 155mm artillery rounds
In the run-up to the informal meeting of the Ministers of Defence Council, which took place in Stockholm on 7 and 8 March, Head of Agency Borrell set out three complementary tracks to deliver more artillery ammunition and to deliver it more quickly: first to help Member States in sending such ammunition from national stockpiles or from pending orders; second to aggregate demand and quickly move to 155mm collaborative procurement; and third to ramp up the manufacturing capacity of the European defence industry.
EDA’s project sets out a path to meet the second track, providing a fast-track procedure, allowing for the tendering process to be simplified and contracts put into place at short notice.Member States can be reimbursed via the European Peace Facility (EPF), the EU’s off-budget instrument in support of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).
Seven year project arrangement for multiple ammunition types and calibres
EDA has been working since November 2022 on three areas for common procurement: ammunition, soldier systems and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) equipment, based on the work of the Joint Defence Task Force with Member States to identify their most critical shortfalls.
The ‘Collaborative Procurement of Ammunition’ project provides a seven-year framework for Member States to commonly procure multiple types and calibres of ammunition (5.56 mm to 155 mm) to replenish national stocks.
EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivýsaid: “This is a significant moment in the EU’s support for Ukraine, European defence cooperation and the EDA. The availability of ammunition, as well as the associated stockpiles, are a critical shortfall which affects the readiness of Member States’ armed forces and their ability to fulfil their missions while, at the same time, supporting Ukraine. EDA has created a flexible and open project which allows all Member States to join should they choose and I expect additional countries to come on board within the week. Today we have a framework for delivery – it’s now up to Member States to make use of it and for industry to be able to respond”.
File photo courtesy P. Valpolini