UK excluded from EU arms deal

10 mins

The EU is preparing to close on a deal to secure more ammunition as part of efforts to assis...

Mane Defence Team

By Mane Defence Team

The EU is preparing to close on a deal to secure more ammunition as part of efforts to assist Ukraine’s war against Russia- and the UK looks set to be excluded from profiting.

Despite ranking seventh in the world for arms exporting, a leaked document claims that the UK is not to be part of the landmark deal that will see a huge increase in spending on arms- with rules stating that only EU and Norwegian manufacturers may take advantage of the arrangement.

The huge order will include small arms alongside bigger 155mm artillery rounds, and is currently being assembled in Brussels- with France, Germany and Italy set to reap the highest rewards, while Britain’s defence industry will miss out completely.

The deal is still yet to be finalised, but if it does go ahead it will be a massive step forward in the war against Russia, helping to re-stock essential supplies. The transfer of ammunition reserves will be instant, meeting EU and Ukraine requirements at a time of great unease.

As part of the deal, member states could be reimbursed for handing over their spare supplies to Kyiv, with Brussels set to offer up to 90% compensation. Alongside this, a seven year plan is being proposed, with an aim for European industry to increase manufacturing so it can fulfil the demands of both member states and Ukraine.

So far 25 EU member states and Norway have confirmed participation, and the EU are calling for the deal to close as early as May- despite concerns that the European industry may not be capable of meeting the demands of the deal. But the EU maintains it will not be requesting assistance from other major world suppliers, such as the UK. Instead, new policies will be put in place to accelerate manufacturing in order to fulfil the requirements.

Experts say that the deal will be a major loss to UK firms, with a direct impact on the British arms industry’s employees; current turnover for UK ammunition exports stands at £25 billion, but warnings are now being made that missing out could put jobs at risk.

And despite UK efforts to aid Ukraine in the war against Russia- with £2.3 billion committed in military assistance so far, and a promise to ensure that same amount again in 2023- the UK cannot compete with the European Peace Facility.

The EPC has pledged £3.2 billion, but is able to raise the total sum to almost £5 billion. The new arms deal is set to be part of that funding, and the acquisition of arms will go ahead through the European Defence Agency, which has helped member states organise arms since 2004. The EDA is only permitted to secure arms from companies based in the EU and Norway, leaving the UK out in the cold and suffering a major blow.

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