European Cooperation on Defence: EU Ministers Agree to 13 New PESCO Projects
(Source: European Union External Action; issued Nov. 12, 2019)
BRUSSELS --- In a world that has become increasingly complex and contested, Europe has stepped up its work on defence over the past few years. Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defence is one of the new instruments in the EU’s toolbox. Under this framework, 13 new projects for European cooperation on defence have just been agreed by EU Ministers.


‘’When Europeans join forces, our impact is higher than we imagine’’ EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said at the press conference following today’s Foreign Affairs Council, where EU Ministers agreed – amongst other things – to 13 new projects under the so-called Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) on security and defence.

In a rapidly changing world, the EU and its Member States continue stepping up their work for Europe's collective security and the security of European citizens, working closely with partners. Much work has been achieved at the EU level over the past few years and the EU toolbox for security and defence has been strengthened with a number of new initiatives.

PESCO is one of them, as it enables EU Member States to work more closely together in the area of security and defence. Within PESCO, they can develop jointly defence capabilities, invest in shared projects, and enhance the operational readiness and contribution of their armed forces.

First established in December 2017, PESCO counts 25 participating Member States and a current total number of 47 projects on such areas as training facilities, land formation systems, maritime, air systems, cyber, and enabling joint multiple services. Work will now continue, with a particular focus on implementation over the next two years.

Click here for the full list of projects (23 PDF pages), on the EU website.

The 25 member states participating in PESCO are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.


Highlights from the Foreign Affairs Council (Defence) on 12 November 2019 in Brussels
(Source: Council of the European Union; issued Nov. 12, 2019)
Security and Defence issues

The High Representative and defence ministers had a strategic discussion on security and defence issues. They reviewed the progress made and looked at the future priorities. The discussion was an opportunity to reflect on further ways for the EU to enhance its capacity to act as a security provider, its strategic autonomy and its ability to cooperate with partners.

The Council focused in particular on PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation) and adopted a decision launching thirteen new PESCO projects. Defence ministers also discussed the coherence between PESCO and the other EU defence initiatives, including the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) and the European Defence Fund.

EU-NATO cooperation

Defence ministers had an exchange of views on EU-NATO cooperation with NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana. They discussed in particular political dialogue, parallel and coordinated exercises and military mobility. Defence ministers reaffirmed the strong transatlantic link and the continued commitment of both organisations to work together.

Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana also briefed EU defence ministers on the state of play of preparations for the next NATO Leader's Meeting to take place on 3-4 December in London.

CSDP missions and operations

The Council discussed the current state of CSDP deployments, reflecting on achievements, challenges and areas for further improvement. The importance of ensuring adequate resources for the missions and operations to fulfil their mandate was stressed.

Defence ministers highlighted the EU's engagement in the Sahel and the relevance of the naval operations, in particular EUNVAFOR Operation Atalanta. They encouraged the ongoing work on the coordinated maritime presences.

European Defence Agency Steering Board

The European Defence Agency's steering board met before the Council meeting. In the margins of the Steering Board, a signing ceremony took place to mark the transfer of the PESCO project chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) Surveillance as a Service (CBRN SaaS) into the Agency’s framework.


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