European Union member states sign declaration of intent for increasing defense cooperation

14 November, 2017, 00:31 | Author: Ora Austin
  • Poland decides to join EU's PESCO defense project

Whereas Ireland, Portugal and Malta have not yet decided whether to join the initiative, Denmark and the United Kingdom are not expected to participate.

He explained that tomorrow, during the Foreign Affairs and Defence Council in Brussels, those member states who intend to join PESCO are expected to jointly sign the notification letter addressed to the Council and the High Representative.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini hailed the decision as a "historic moment in European defense".

"This is the beginning of a common work - 23 member states engaging both on capabilities and on operational steps, that's something big", Mogherini said. Member states participating in PESCO retain the sovereign right to command their own national defense, and the capabilities developed within PESCO will belong to the member states, who will be able to use them as they wish, regardless of the format, including in fulfilling their own national needs and those of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Countries that are not in the European Union could take part in specific missions, opening the way to possible participation by Britain after Brexit - though they will have no role in decision-making.

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Under the cooperation, member countries will submit an action plan outlining their defense aims.

"It has clear outlines, so we're confident that it will garner significant support", said Gajdoš, who hopes to draw resources from the newly created European Defence Fund for its budgeting, with an eye towards cutting the financial onus that it will put on Bratislava.

The so-called Permanent Structured Cooperation (Pesco) is designed in the first instance to facilitate joint investments in defence procurement and research and to project the...

By working together on joint projects, nations hope to use their combined spending power to overcome capability gaps, jointly buying equipment like air transporters or drones.

Gabriel said that working together under the framework of PESCO was "more economical than if everyone does the same. I think that European cooperation on defense questions will rather contribute to saving money - we have about 50 percent of the United States' defense spending in Europe, but only 15 percent of the efficiency".

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