Defence cooperation: 23 European Union member states sign joint notification on PESCO

Defence cooperation: 23 European Union member states sign joint notification on PESCO

The agreement envisions a Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO, which is meant to give the European Union a more coherent role in tackling global crises, follows the announcement of a $6.4-billion European Defense Fund last June.

Defence and foreign ministers from the 23 countries on Monday signed a notification of their intention to establish the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), which allows countries to cooperate more closely on security operations and building up military capability.

Twenty-three countries have declared they will participate in a new EU defense cooperation pact, part of a broader push to advance European integration, officials said Monday. Once signed by defence ministers, the agreement will be officially launched on the eve of the next European Union summit in December. At that the member states retain their sovereign right to leading their own national defense.

The goal of PESCO is to further increase defense cooperation between member states, to encourage larger defense investments, to facilitate the availability of military capabilities for European Union operations, to strengthen defense cooperation between member states, and to decrease capability gaps. Mogherini, EU military chiefs and the European Defence Agency will then evaluate whether the plans are being respected.

"The real problem is not how much we spend, it is the fact that we spend in a fragmented manner", Mogherini said.

More news: Google is reportedly working on an AirDrop-like file transfer app

France and Germany are one step closer to achieving a decades old goal of integrating European defenses.

Former UKIP leader Diane James MEP has suggested that, "as the EU Common Defence Fund is being launched way before Brexit, the UK will be providing 13 per cent of the cash" - although this is not yet fully confirmed.

The defence of Europe will not be strengthened by weakening the bond with the United States or competing with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Mrs Mogherini said the move would not only complement Nato's security aims but fill in gaps in the Atlantic alliance.

Under PESCO, EU countries will commit to increase military spending, but not to specifically adhere to NATO's bottom line of moving towards 2 percent of gross domestic product for defense budgets by 2020.

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