Important progress was achieved during Thursday’s Foreign Affairs Council, as the ministers of defense agreed to broaden the cooperation in partners countries.
Ministers have provided their consent on a political level to create a Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) within 2017, based on inputs provided by the EU member states.
According to EU external affairs chief Federica Mogherini, PESCO will remain open to any EU member state that is willing to make the necessary binding commitments.
PESCO should help generate new collaborative efforts, cooperation and projects within the EU, while any capabilities developed through PESCO will remain owned and operated by the member states. Each country will keep its single set of forces that they can also use in other frameworks, including the UN and NATO, according to Mogherini.
Thursday’s FAC meeting meant an accord on PESCO’s two-layer governance involving all EU member states at an EU Council level and a second level involving those member states that will take those binding commitments and participate.
“We still have to finalize the legal act but we don’t need any more political decisions, the decision is done, it’s finalised,” said Mogherini.
The EU’s High Representative refrained from naming specific projects that the member states could implement after PESCO: “Some member states have reflected together some ideas” and appear to have “a clear interest in specific projects.”
“Spending better, because we can start spending together”
According to what Mogherini told journalists after the FAC meeting in Brussels, the EU aims to make most of its military spending as even after Brexit, the “EU-27 budget will still the second largest budget in the world.” Today a 50% of spending produces just 15% of output. “This is the output gap we are willing to address,” concluded Mogherini,