Russia's war against Ukraine has been a wake-call for the European Union's defense capabilities as weapons deliveries to Ukraine deplete military stockpiles in Europe, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement on Dec. 12.
"With conventional war returning to the heart of Europe, we also realized that we lacked critical defense capabilities to be able to protect ourselves from a higher level of threats on the European continent itself," Borrell said.
Citing EU defense data collected by the European Defence Agency, Borrell said the EU had increased spending on defense in recent years.
According to the EDA's data, the EU's defense spending grew six percent in 2021 to 214 billion euros, the strongest yearly growth rate since 2015. This is still far away from the two percent NATO benchmark, Borrell said.
NATO allies agreed in 2014 that all member states should meet two percent of their gross domestic product on the military.
Borrell also said that the EU "should be able" to support Ukraine politically, economically, and militarily "as long as necessary, until Ukraine prevails."