World Media

European Union takes step towards closer defence cooperation

European Union takes step towards closer defence cooperation

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini described the signing of PESCO as a "historic moment in European defense".

All EU countries except Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Malta and Portugal said Monday they would sign up to the pact, which will be officially launched at a summit next month.

Led by France and Germany, the pact pledges 23 European Union member-states to a Common Defence Fund which will see them develop and deploy armed forces together, Reuters reports.

Defense and foreign ministers from 23 European Union countries signed up to a plan to establish the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), which will allow countries to cooperate more closely on security operations and building up military capability.

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"It has clear outlines, so we're confident that it will garner significant support", said GajdoĊĦ, who hopes to draw resources from the newly created European Defence Fund for its budgeting, with an eye towards cutting the financial onus that it will put on Bratislava.

"In a nutshell, we have had six EU Council meetings over the a year ago where United Kingdom officials have agreed various aspects of the Defence Union", he told reporters. By working together on joint projects, nations will be able to use their combined spending weight to purchase much needed capabilities like air transport or drones.

The possibility of the Permanent Structured Cooperation in the area of defence security and defence policy was introduced by the Lisbon Treaty.

"It will primarily depend on France and Germany's ability to address short term technical issues, such as the definition of ambitious projects and the monitoring of the countries' commitments, and to focus on the concrete military effects of this initiative", said the European Leadership Network think tank in a research note.

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U.S. President Donald Trump refused last month to certify that Iran is complying with its obligations under the nuclear accord, though global inspectors said it is.

Mrs Mogherini said the move would not only complement Nato's security aims but fill in gaps in the Atlantic alliance.

Attendees pose for group photos after signing a pact on joint defense cooperation at the headquarters of the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, Nov. 13, 2017.

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