Europe takes historic step towards defense cooperation

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (L) and EU High representative for foreign policy Federica Mogherini (R) attends the EU Defence ministers council meeting with NATO Secretary General in Brussels, Belgium, 13 November 2017. The ministers will discuss EU-NATO cooperation. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

Europe takes historic step towards defense cooperation


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Foreign and defense ministers representing 23 EU member states agreed on a draft defense cooperation pact on Monday.

Signatories to the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) treaty do not include the UK, which is leaving the EU, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, and Malta.

The agreement is meant to consolidate collective defense in Europe as the United States appears less committed to European Defense. Although there is no political consensus on the future of PESCO, officials insist that the emerging organization will complement rather than antagonize NATO.

The new defense cooperation platform provides for an initial €5bn budget for common procurement and research.

The leading national military forces in Europe are the UK and France and, since 1998, the two traditional military powers have deepened defense cooperation. However, with the UK leaving the EU and neo-Isolationism emerging in Washington, member states are moving to forge more politically reliable defense cooperation.

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