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Charles Michel: ‘High time to put EU's economy on war footing‘

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 19, 2024 11:58 PM 2 min read
Charles Michel, president of the European Council, during a news conference at the European Union (EU) and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday, July 18, 2023. (Simon Wohlfahrt/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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European Council President Charles Michel said it is high time to put the EU's economy on a “war footing” by increasing joint defense spending and buying.

In his invitation letter to the European Council members, Michel said that the priority is the swift provision of military assistance to Kyiv, including "the fast-track procurement and delivery of ammunition." The summit of EU leaders to be held on 21-22 March in Brussels.

Ukraine faces an ongoing ammunition shortage, with the country being in dire need of shells and missiles, as $61 billion in funding from the U.S. remains stuck in Congress. Several European countries joined a Czech-led initiative to procure from non-EU countries 800,000 sorely needed artillery ammunition for Kyiv.

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War Notes

Michel also said that Europe has not invested enough in its security and defense "for decades," therefore, now is the time "for a real paradigm shift in relation to our security and defense."

"Now that we are facing the biggest security threat since the Second World War, it is high time we take radical and concrete steps to be defense-ready and put the EU’s economy on a “war footing”," the EU Council president wrote.

Michel called on EU member states to help the defense industry gain access to private and public funds and reduce regulatory barriers.

He also mentioned the importance of preventing the escalation of conflicts in the Middle East and problems in agriculture, which are expected to be discussed at the summit.

Earlier, Michel called Russia "a serious military threat to our European continent," not ruling out that Europe "could be next" if Ukraine does not receive enough aid.

On March 18, EU foreign ministers agreed to allocate additional 5 billion euros ($5.5 billion) in defense assistance for Ukraine in 2024 within the framework of the European Peace Facility (EPF), Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced.

Monthly chart: Ukraine struggles to cover budget needs for 2 months in a row as foreign financing dwindles
The following is chart is based off of data originally published in the Kyiv-based Center of Economic Strategy’s “Ukraine War Economy Tracker.” The Kyiv Independent is republishing with permission. Ukraine’s budget struggles with low amounts of foreign aid in 2024 Ukraine’s state budget finan…

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11:25 PM

Every Western decision is late by a year, says Zelensky.

Western partners have been deliberating key decisions on military assistance for Ukraine for "too long," President Volodymyr Zelensky said on May 20 in an interview with Reuters. The president described the delivery of aid, particularly badly needed air defense, as "one big step forward, but before that, two steps back."
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