European Union takes step towards closer defence cooperation
European Union takes step towards closer defence cooperation
Major Step Towards EU Army as European Leaders Sign Military Pact – And Britain May Be Sucked In
14 November, 2017, 00:28
"I will expect the next Foreign Affairs Council to adopt this formal decision, so that we will be able to launch for the first time ever a European Defense Permanent Structured Cooperation with concrete projects, announced EU Foreign Policy Chief Frederica Mogherini". Whereas Ireland, Portugal and Malta have not yet decided whether to join the initiative, Denmark and the United Kingdom are not expected to participate. It foresees the possibility of a number of European Union member states working more closely together in the area of security and defense. Its annex stated that "a long term vision of PESCO could be to arrive at a coherent full spectrum force package - in complementarity with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which will continue to be the cornerstone of collective defense for its members".
PESCO obligates European Union member states to cooperate more and more systematically: increasing defense spending, making their units available for European Union operations, creating common military powers and strengthening the defense industry.
The EU will move towards closer defence ties on Monday with more than 20 states signing a landmark pact that aims to boost cooperation after Brexit and counteract Russian pressure.
Germany and France have backed plans to reboot EU defence operations, including an announcement in June of a 5.5-billion euro European Defence Fund. "The real problem is not how much we spend, it is the fact that we spend in a fragmented manner".
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Defence experts said the success of the new project would only be clear when Paris and Berlin resolved their competing visions for European-wide military cooperation.
The PESCO is expected to bring more binding commitments to strengthen cooperation in defense. Germany wanted the pact to include as many countries as possible while France wanted it to be as militarily ambitious as possible, they said.
The agreement envisions a Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO, which is meant to give the European Union a more coherent role in tackling worldwide crises, follows the announcement of a $6.4-billion European Defense Fund last June.
EU diplomats told RFE/RL on condition of anonymity that Britain's decision previous year to quit the bloc and U.S. President Donald Trump's push for European allies to raise their contributions to the defense of the continent have prompted EU members to act. The EU, she said, has tools to fight hybrid warfare - the use of conventional weapons mixed with things like propaganda and cyber-attacks - that the military alliance does not have at its disposal.
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