The very fact that the EU repurposed its peace facility instrument to arm Ukraine has significant operative relevance, but also symbolic relevance. Member states will certainly be less reluctant to invest in joint projects and mechanisms, although truly integrated defence capacities in the EU might be a farfetched goal
The war in Ukraine has already caused tectonic shifts in the global security architecture and interrupted the decadeslong peace project in Europe, forcing it to rearm. The threat of war on its territory will reshape European defence, individual member states’ militaries and common defence, transatlantic relations and Europe’s role in NATO. Nevertheless, defence reforms and rearmament are quite expensive and require extensive planning and long-term adaptation. We can thus expect gradual steps and important political commitments, rather than a Europe armed to the teeth in the nearest future.
Significant changes in defence policies can already be noticed: ever-moderate Sweden and Finland bidding for NATO membership and announcing increased military spending, Germany, dormant for decades, pledging to boost its defence budget, along with many of its European colleagues like Poland, France, Romania and others; Denmark deciding to participate in joint European defence mechanisms etc. It remains to be seen how those budgets will be spent and how that spending will impact on common defence mechanisms. Many resources will undoubtedly be allocated to replace and replenish arms and military equipment sent to Ukraine.
Rather than ad hoc arming, driven by political interests and spiced up with a lack of transparency and planning, Serbia should pay greater attention to problems like the increasing outflow of personnel that erodes the foundations of the defence system
When it comes to defence integration, the war in Ukraine has certainly bolstered the process more than any previous EU initiative. The very fact that the EU repurposed its Peace Facility instrument to arm Ukraine already has significant operative relevance, but also symbolic relevance. Member states will certainly be less reluctant to invest in joint projects and mechanisms, but striding towards truly integrated defence capacities in the EU nevertheless requires a lot of time, effort and the overcoming of political obstacles.
The war in Ukraine has made it clear that Serbia will have to choose a side in its foreign policy, which it has successfully avoided having to do for years. Serbia took steps towards the modernisation and renewal of its outdated arms and equipment in the past few years, though predominantly in the service of its foreign policy. Arms and equipment were purchased from all sides (Russia, China, EU member states, European manufacturers etc.), in accordance with the balancing concept and Belgrade’s “four pillars” foreign policy approach.