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European Union member states sign joint notification on deepening defense cooperation
13 November 2017, 07:53 | Opal Carroll
Tackling Security Challenges: EU Set to Increase Military Mobility to Deal with Crises
Earlier this year, the European Commission launched a major financial incentive for countries to cooperate on defense procurement, with a new European Defense fund worth €5.5 billion per year.
A first list of projects to be undertaken within the PESCO framework should be agreed by the participating member states once PESCO has been established.
The Pesco drive however has revealed strains between Paris and Berlin, with the French pushing for a smaller group of nations committed to ambitious projects and Germany wanting a more inclusive arrangement with as numerous bloc's 27 members - minus Britain - as possible.
He explained that tomorrow, during the Foreign Affairs and Defence Council in Brussels, those member states who intend to join PESCO are expected to jointly sign the notification letter addressed to the Council and the High Representative.
"We've never come close to this before", an European Union official said.
European Union officials have identified defense as an area where they have made progress on multiple fronts since Britain voted to leave.
Also, warnings by U.S. President Donald Trump that European allies must pay more towards their security seemed to have propelled the project forward. "This is complementary to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation but we also see that nobody will solve the security problems that Europe has in its neighbourhood - we have to do it ourselves". The EU, she said, has tools to fight hybrid warfare - the use of conventional weapons mixed with things like propaganda and cyber-attacks - that the American-led military alliance does not have at its disposal.
Ms Mogherini said the move would complement Nato's security aims.
Ultimately Pesco could be overseen by a European operational headquarters or logistics base.
Stoltenberg had previously urged European nations to increase their defense budget. At launch the focus will be project-driven such as the development new military equipment such as tanks or drones.
British officials held open the prospect of cooperating with the pact on a case-by-case basis. "I think that European co-operation on defence questions will rather contribute to saving money - we have about 50 per cent of the United States" defence spending in Europe, but only 15 per cent of the efficiency'.
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