14 Dec 2017

EU unveil plans for closer defence union

The European Union has announced plans that will see its member states will jointly implement and fund future military projects.

All of the EU member states except Denmark, Malta and Britain, signed the permanent structured cooperation on defence (PESCO) agreement.

EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said: “We decided to change things together in this field and we did it and now we are ready to work and shape our next steps towards an EU of security and defence and I’m sure we will continue to work together and do it also in the years to come.

“We can now research and develop our defence capabilities together. We can buy together to ensure that we have the capabilities we need and spending efficiently.

“We can act together to manage or prevent crisis, to strengthen our partners, to make our citizens more secure. The 25 have taken binding commitments to improving their cooperation and the progress of these commitments will be assessed regularly.”

Given Brexit, Russian aggression and mixed messages from the United States on President Trump’s views on the relevance of NATO, the EU are keen to implement closer defence and security ties across Europe.

Plans were also presented by 25 EU Member States to work together on a first set of 17 collaborative defence projects that include underwater drones, armoured vehicles and cyber attack crisis response unit led by Germany.

President Juncker said: “In June I said it was time to wake up the Sleeping Beauty of the Lisbon Treaty: permanent structured cooperation. Six months later, it is happening. I welcome the steps taken today by Member States to lay the foundations of a European Defence Union. Europe cannot and should not outsource our security and defence.

“The European Defence Fund that the European Commission proposed will complement these efforts and act as a further incentive for defence cooperation – including potential funding for some of the projects presented today.”

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