Poland decides to join EU's PESCO defense project

14 November, 2017, 00:32 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Poland decides to join EU's PESCO defense project

"Today, after so many years, the provision of the Lisbon Treaty establishing the possibility for the European Union member states to have a Permanent Structured Cooperation on defense is going to be initiated", Mogherini told reporters upon her arrival for the council.

Similar efforts to deepen military links have been frustrated for decades, partly by Britain's fierce opposition to anything that might lead to a European army.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, center, poses with EU foreign and defense ministers after signing the notification on Permanent Structure Cooperation (PESCO) on the margin of a foreign affairs council at the Europa building in Brussels, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017.

Ireland, Portugal, and Malta are undecided whether to join. Denmark and Britain, which have a special opt-out status, are not expected to participate.

Trump has criticized other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members that fail to meet the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defense spending target of 2 per cent of gross domestic product.

The PESCO is expected to bring more binding commitments to strengthen cooperation in defense. The move, driven by France and Germany, is misguided.


On his way into the meeting, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the pact "a very important step", recalling that there was "little enthusiasm" when it was first mooted.

"I'm a firm believer of stronger European defense, so I welcome PESCO because I believe that it can strengthen European defense, which is good for Europe but also good for NATO", Stoltenberg said.

The agreement commits countries to "regularly increasing defence budgets in real terms" as well as devoting 20 percent of defence spending to procurement and two percent on research and technology.

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.

The 23 countries that announced their intention to take part in the new initiative are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

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