Get used to this acronym: PESCO! It stands for Permanent Structured Cooperation. This initiative is the result of the EU Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy (EUGS), an action plan that aims at fostering cooperation regarding security and defence among the remaining Member States of the EU.
At first, PESCO was perceived as a threat to NATO, but as talks evolved it became clear that the mandates are different. Also, Donald Tusk, the President of the EU Council, stated that a united Europe when it comes to defence will strengthen NATO.
PESCO is also a clear reaction to the state of global and regional affairs. First, in 2014 Russia annexed Crimea, redrawing the maps of Europe through military action. Second, the United States is willing to play a less active role regarding the defence of the continent. This led EU authorities to establish a legal framework that will boost cooperation in defence affairs.
According to Declaration on PESCO projects, Member States agreed to cooperate in the following fields:
– European Medical Command;
– European Secure Software defined Radio (ESSOR);
– Network of logistic Hubs in Europe and support to Operations
– Military Mobility;
– European Union Training Mission Competence Centre (EU TMCC);
– European Training Certification Centre for European Armies;
– Energy Operational Function (EOF);
– Deployable Military Disaster Relief Capability Package;
– Maritime (semi-) Autonomous Systems for Mine Countermeasures (MAS MCM);
– Harbour & Maritime Surveillance and Protection (HARMSPRO);
– Upgrade of Maritime Surveillance;
– Cyber Threats and Incident Response Information Sharing Platform;
– Cyber Rapid Response Teams and Mutual Assistance in Cyber Security;
– Strategic Command and Control (C2) System for CSDP Missions and Operations;
– Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle / Amphibious Assault Vehicle / Light Armoured Vehicle;
– Indirect Fire Support (EuroArtillery);
– EUFOR Crisis Response Operation Core (EUFOR CROC).
Some of these initiatives might be implemented already in 2018. However, one of the bottlenecks to be addressed in the short-term refers to funding such projects. European authorities will have to find 1.5 billion euros each year to finance PESCO.
See Federica Mogherini statement after the meeting:
“We see that around the world there is a strong need for the EU to be active as a point of reference, as a player as others are taking different directions” @FedericaMog #EUDefence pic.twitter.com/OuW8BItLdJ
— EU External Action (@eu_eeas) 14 December 2017
As the UK prepares to leave the bloc, policymakers were able to accept British participation in the projects mentioned above as long as London does not influence in deliberations.