EU takes step towards closer defence cooperation
The European Union has moved toward closer defense ties with more than 20 member states committing to deepen cooperation and improve coordination in the development of military hardware.
Brexit and Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 has once again brought the need for a strong European security stance back into focus.
Meeting in Brussels on November 13, the foreign and defense ministers of France, Germany, and 21 other member states signed a notification of their intention to establish the Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defense, or PESCO.
The initiative is expected to be officially launched when EU leaders meet in the Belgian capital on December 14-15.
The pact, which has been in the works for more than a year, is part of efforts led by Germany and France to push closer defense ties as a way of rebooting the bloc after Britain’s referendum to leave
Participation in PESCO is voluntary and the EU member states that choose to sit out now will have the possibility to join later.
Ireland, Portugal, and Malta are undecided whether to join.
History of EU
European Union (EU), international organization comprising 28 European countries and governing common economic, social, and security policies. Originally confined to western Europe, the EU undertook a robust expansion into central and eastern Europe in the early 21st century.
The EU was created by the Maastricht Treaty, which entered into force on November 1, 1993. The treaty was designed to enhance European political and economic integration by creating a single currency (the euro), a unified foreign and security policy, and common citizenship rights and by advancing cooperation in the areas of immigration, asylum, and judicial affairs.
It is a Treaty-based framework and process to deepen defence cooperation amongst EU Member States who are capable and willing to do so.
The aim is to jointly develop defence capabilities and make them available for EU military operations. This will thus enhance the EU’s capacity as an international security partner, also contributing to protection of Europeans and maximise the effectiveness of defence spending.