Monday, 11 December 2017

Commission welcomes first operational steps towards a European Defence Union

The Commission welcomes the plans presented by 25 EU Member States today to work together on a first set of 17 collaborative defence projects in the framework of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). President Juncker said: "In June I said it was time to wake up the Sleeping Beauty of the Lisbon Treaty: permanent structured cooperation. Six months later, it is happening. I welcome the steps taken today by Member States to lay the foundations of a European Defence Union. Europe cannot and should not outsource our security and defence. The European Defence Fund that the European Commission proposed will complement these efforts and act as a further incentive for defence cooperation – including potential funding for some of the projects presented today." PESCO is an instrument in the EU Treaty to enable willing Member States to pursue greater cooperation in defence and security. Since November, 25 Member States have notified their intention to launch Permanent Structured Cooperation on defence to High Representative Federica Mogherini.

Today, these Member States signed a Declaration announcing the preparation of first collaborative projects in areas including the setting up of an EU medical headquartersmaritime surveillanceunderwater drones and cyber-defence. While PESCO is purely intergovernmental, the European Defence Fund proposed by the European Commission in June will create incentives for Member States to cooperate on joint development and the acquisition of defence equipment and technology through co-financing from the EU budget and practical support from the Commission. This could include some of the projects presented by Member States today in the framework of PESCO. Additionally, the Fund fully finances grants for collaborative research projects, with first grant agreements expected to be signed before the end of 2017. Member States are expected to reach agreement on the European Defence Fund at a Council meeting tomorrow.

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