‘Funds that we dedicated to families and businesses for recovery should not be used for military ammunition’ – MEP Cyrus Engerer
1 June 2023, https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/
by Matthew Vella
Labour MEP Cyrus Engerer
Labour MEP Cyrus Engerer has voted against the majority of the European Parliament on a proposal to have funds allocated and vote on for families and business in the COVID recovery and resilience plan, to be now used to manufacture military ammunition.
On Thursday, Parliament backed a draft bill to increase European production of ammunition and missiles. The Act in Support of Ammunition Production (ASAP) aims to accelerate the delivery of €500 million in ammunition and missiles to Ukraine and to help member states restock their arsenals and address a current shortage of ground-to-ground and artillery ammunition, missiles and their components.
The legislation was adopted with 446 votes to 67, with 112 abstentions. MEPs will now start negotiations with Council, with the aim of reaching a political agreement, which MEPs would then vote on in plenary in July.
“I have today again voted against the majority of the European Parliament on the proposal that the funds we had allocated, voted and dedicated to families and businesses for their recovery and resilience following the pandemic, are now to be used to manufacture military ammunition,” Engerer said at the end of the voting session of the European Parliament plenary in Brussels.
Engerer said that while Ukraine has the right to defend itself and should be given support by the European Union, as has been happening from the beginning of the Russian illegal invasion, the EU’s funding programme to aid recovery from the pandemic and the challenging times citizens experienced, must remain and not be changed to fund ammunition instead.
“Yes Ukraine does have a right to defend itself, but I can never agree that the funds for resilience and recovery that are so important to European and Maltese families and businesses end up being used for war arms instead,” Engerer said.
“It is important that Ukraine wins back the land that has been invaded by Russia, but citizens have passed through three years of hardship and the European Parliament must be with them too at this difficult time.”
The EP’s negotiating team leader Cristian Bușoi (EPP, RO) said: “Today’s decision marks a significant step forward for the security and defence of our Union, and particularly in our steadfast support of Ukraine in the face of the ongoing Russian aggression. It will boost our capacity to respond to security challenges. It is a victory for Europe and for our collective security. Parliament is now ready to negotiate with Council and we hope to reach an agreement as soon as possible.”
In parallel, MEPs are working on the European Defence Industrial Reinforcement through the common Procurement Act (EDIRPA) to support collaboration between member states in the defence procurement phase to fill the most urgent and critical gaps.