Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Poland decides to join EU's PESCO defense project

Poland decides to join EU's PESCO defense project

A total of 23 EU-member states have joined PESCO so far, with membership optional.

Similar efforts to deepen military links have been frustrated for decades, partly by Britain's fierce opposition to anything that might lead to a European army.

Mogherini, EU military chiefs and the European Defence Agency will then evaluate whether the plans are being respected.

This permanent framework for defence cooperation will allow those member states willing and able to jointly develop defence capabilities, invest in shared projects, or enhance the operational readiness and contribution of their armed forces. Ireland, Portugal and Malta are still in the process of deciding whether to join.

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The creation of PESCO is said to represent the greatest improvement in European Union defence policy in recent decades, with the benefit being shared costs of European Union military operations, joint investments in procuring military capacities and the modernisation of military infrastructure. Germany wanted the pact to include as many countries as possible while France wanted it to be as militarily ambitious as possible, they said.

The joint notification is the first formal step to set up the PESCO.

Defence experts said the success of the new project would only be clear when Paris and Berlin resolved their competing visions for European-wide military cooperation.

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The agreement commits countries to "regularly increasing defence budgets in real terms" as well as devoting 20 per cent of defence spending to procurement and 2 per cent to research and technology. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel stressed it would have economic benefits.

European Union officials have identified defense as an area where they have made progress on multiple fronts since Britain voted to leave. He said Europe spends 50 percent as much as the United States on defense yet only has 15 percent of its military efficiency.

Mrs Mogherini said that by coordinating their efforts, European countries would get better value for money in defence.

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