A recent study conducted by the Századvég Institute indicates that as the Russo-Ukrainian war rages on, the EU's longstanding commitment to maintaining peace within its borders, is being altered, bringing the potential of an open conflict closer by the day.
EU member states had so far adhered to strict criteria governing arms exports, aimed at preventing contributions to internal repression, international aggression, and regional instability.
But only four days after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, on 28 February 2022, the Council of the European Union adopted Decision 2022/339, which allowed EU Member States to finance arms supplies to Ukraine from the European Peace Facility.
According to this, the EU would no longer export arms to Ukraine in joint missions to guarantee the security of a non-member state, but in support of one of the parties actively fighting a war.
Last year, EUR 500 million was added to the budget for Ukraine on two occasions, to finance, among other things, the purchase of lethal weapons and military training operations by Ukraine.
This current shift, namely financing arms supplies to Ukraine via the European Peace Facility marks a significant break from its previous objectives, as it now directly supports one side in the conflict, undermining its previous emphasis on maintaining peace within its territory.
We can see the results of this by looking at major industrialized European countries that not only have robust arms industries for their own military needs but also engage in arms imports and provide armed support to other states involved in conflicts.
Over the past five years, European arms imports have surged by a whopping 46% while in the meantime, other continents have experienced significant declines in the same metric with Africa for instance, witnessing a 40% drop in imports, and the Middle East experiencing a 9% decline with the global arms market going through a 5% decline.
The main culprit in this immense growth in European weapon imports is Ukraine, which was previously a negligible importer of arms but has emerged as the third-largest destination for global arms exports in 2022, with Western countries serving as the primary suppliers.
The Századvég study notes that the EU's decision to bankroll Ukraine’s need for lethal weapons and equipment, makes it a de facto party in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, pointing out that the European Union has violated the ideals and principles of its moral foundations.
It is eerily reminiscent of the adage that history repeats itself as while the wider world is not looking to arms as a possible solution to most conflicts, Europe, which used to be the starting point for world wars, is once again stockpiling lethal armament.
This is terrifying, as the European Union, created for common interests and peace in Europe, is consistently increasing the chances of Europe drifting to the brink of war, putting global interests before the interests of its own community, thereby causing further insecurity for the people of a Europe that have been already suffering the consequences of this senseless conflict.
This is why Hungary, among many others in the global community, stands for peace. Because only peace is the only solution to successfully cease bloodshed and stop this senseless violence, costing the lives of thousands.