EU Ministers Sign Landmark Defense Agreement

Poland decides to join EU's PESCO defense project

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini described the signing of PESCO as a "historic moment in European defense". Britain, which is leaving the European Union in 2019, and Denmark with a defense opt-out were among those not taking part.

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

According to a statement released by Mogherini's foreign affairs council, the pact on the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) foresees the possibility of a number of European Union member states working more closely together in the area of security and defense.

The European Union took a step towards closer defence ties yesterday, with 23 states signing a landmark pact aiming to boost cooperation after Brexit and as Russian Federation flexes its muscles to the east.

"In a nutshell, we have had six EU Council meetings over the a year ago where United Kingdom officials have agreed various aspects of the Defence Union", he told reporters.

There are strong indications that British officials are pushing hard for the United Kingdom to be included in the Permanent Structured Cooperation process, or PESCO, which is key to the Defence Union plans set out by President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker recently. "The real problem is not how much we spend, it is the fact that we spend in a fragmented manner".

"It has clear outlines, so we're confident that it will garner significant support", said Gajdoš, who hopes to draw resources from the newly created European Defence Fund for its budgeting, with an eye towards cutting the financial onus that it will put on Bratislava. The move, driven by France and Germany, is misguided.

The agreement envisions a Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO, which is meant to give the European Union a more coherent role in tackling global crises, follows the announcement of a $6.4-billion European Defense Fund last June. This could take place at the next Foreign Affairs Council on 11th December.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said it was important for Europe to stand on its own feet when it comes to security and defense - "especially after the election of the US President", referring to President Donald Trump's dismissive attitude towards North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. 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 military alliance does not have at its disposal.

Pesco could, in theory, lead to the creation of a European operational headquarters or logistics base, but will first focus on projects to develop new military equipment such as tanks or drones.

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