Published: Mon, November 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

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

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

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, called the pact "historic" as "the real problem is not how much we spend, it is the fact we spend in a fragmented manner".

The United Kingdom, which is scheduled to leave the European Union in 2019, is not part of PESCO either but can still choose to take part in certain aspects even after Brexit - if that participation is of benefit to the entire EU. Ireland, Portugal and Malta are still in the process of deciding whether to join.

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. 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.

Under the co-operation, member countries will submit an action plan outlining their defence aims. This has led to unease by European allies that the U.S. was not committed to the alliance's mutual defence pact.

Mogherini said the move would complement NATO's security aims.

The EU, she said, has tools to fight hybrid warfare - the use of conventional weapons mixed with things such as propaganda and cyber-attacks - that the military alliance does not have at its disposal.


Mrs Mogherini said that by coordinating their efforts, European countries would get better value for money in defence. He added that PESCO will remain open to all member states, and noted that it is important that its objectives are achievable regardless of the size of the countries involved.

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.

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

Gabriel said that working together under the framework of PESCO was "more economical than if everyone does the same".

Speaking to the press on Sunday, following a memorial event in Nicosia district, the Minister said that the government looks forward to creating the conditions for the presence of a European Defence Force that will strengthen Cyprus' defence shield.

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