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


"We are agreeing on the future cooperation on security and defence's really a milestone in European development", he said.

Germany and France have backed plans to reboot EU defence operations, including an announcement in June of a 5.5-billion euro European Defence Fund. On November 13 ministers from 23 EU member states signed a joint notification on the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and handed it over to the High Representative and the Council, Armenpress reports citing the EU Council's official website. 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 news comes as Veterans for Britain spokesman David Banks warns that Britain is not only on the hook for European Union spending on defence integration, but actually being entangled in various plans for ad hoc joint headquarters, procurement, research schemes itself.

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Germany wanted as many countries as possible to sign up but wants to keep the focus on more modest schemes.

With the notification signed, a final decision to launch the defense cooperation framework is expected in December. Cooperation inside the European Union and with our partners has become a must.

Also, warnings by U.S. President Donald Trump that European allies must pay more towards their security seemed to have propelled the project forward.

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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 like propaganda and cyber-attacks - that the American-led military alliance does not have at its disposal.

The EU stresses that PESCO is complimentary to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, in which 22 of the EU's 28 countries are members.

Ultimately Pesco could be overseen by a European operational headquarters or logistics base. The notice of intent to be inked in Brussels on Monday, seen by AFP, includes a pledge to "regularly increasing defence budgets in real terms" as well as commitments to devote 20 percent of defence spending on procurement and two percent on research and technology.

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"I'm a firm believer of stronger European defence, so I welcome PESCO because I believe that it can strengthen European defence, which is good for Europe but also good for NATO", Stoltenberg said.