Tag Archives: PESCO

EU defence progress

Brussels, 20.11.2020 The Council approved conclusions on the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) Strategic Review 2020. The review assesses the progress made on PESCO and provides guidance for the next phase (2021-2025) on the overall aim, policy goals, incentives and projects. (Image: Dassault Rafale factory, France).

The review highlights the need to fulfil the more binding commitments and achieve concrete outputs and tangible deliverables by 2025.

It stresses the importance of making tangible progress towards a coherent Full Spectrum Force Package that strengthens the EU’s military ability to act. It also highlights and reaffirms key objectives such as those connected to defence investments, more systematic use of EU defence tools in national planning processes, enhancing the EU’s operational effectiveness and developing the necessary capabilities.

The review highlights some incentives for giving PESCO more visibility at the political level and increasing the degree of transparency between member states on the way in which they are fulfilling their commitments, notably in the operational area.

The review also highlights a list of 26 PESCO projects which will deliver concrete results or reach full operational capability before the end of 2025.

Launched in December 2017, PESCO represents a step-change in defence cooperation within the European Union. PESCO is a framework which allows willing and able EU member states to jointly develop defence capabilities, invest in shared projects, and enhance the operational readiness and contribution of their armed forces.

To date 25 EU member states have undertaken binding commitments that form the basis of PESCO. There are currently 46 collaborative projects in various areas: training facilities, land formation systems, maritime and air systems, cyber, and enabling joint multiple services or space projects.

The 25 member states participating in PESCO are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

On 5 November, the Council established the general conditions under which non-EU countries could exceptionally be invited to participate in individual PESCO projects, thereby paving the way for stronger and more ambitious defence cooperation with partners in the EU framework.

PESCO: new 13 projcts in view

The Council adopted an updated list of 13 projects to be undertaken under PESCO. Today’s decision brings to 47 the number of projects that are currently in place.

Five of the new projects focus on training, covering areas such as cyber, diving, tactical, medical as well as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence (CBRND) training. Other projects focus on enhancing EU collaborative actions as well as on capability development on sea, air and space.

The Council formally adopted the first set of 17 projects on 6 March 2018 and the second set of 17 projects on 20 November 2018.

On 11 December 2017, the Council adopted a decision establishing Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). PESCO enables EU member states to work more closely together in the area of security and defence. This permanent framework for defence cooperation allows willing and able member states to develop jointly defence capabilities, invest in shared projects, and enhance the operational readiness and contribution of their armed forces.

The 25 member states participating in PESCO are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.

Europe strengthens its security

“Europe must take greater responsibility for its own security and underpin its role as a credible and reliable actor and partner in the area of security and defence. The Union is therefore taking steps to bolster European defence, by enhancing defence investment, capability development and operational readiness. These initiatives enhance its strategic autonomy while complementing and reinforcing the activities of NATO, in line with previous conclusions. The European Council:

  • calls for the fulfilment of the PESCO commitments and the further development of the initial projects and the institutional framework, in a way that is fully consistent with the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence and the revised Capability Development Plan adopted within the European Defence Agency. A next set of projects will be agreed in November 2018. It invites the Council to decide on the conditions for third State participation in PESCO projects;
  • welcomes progress on military mobility in the framework of PESCO and EU-NATO cooperation, expects the military requirements under the EU Action Plan on military mobility now to be finalised, and calls on Member States to simplify and standardise relevant rules and procedures by 2024. These efforts, which should fully respect the sovereignty of the Member States, be mutually reinforcing and follow a whole-of-government approach, will be reviewed yearly on the basis of a report by the Commission and the High Representative, starting in spring 2019;
  • calls for the swift implementation of the European Defence Industrial Development Programme and for further progress on the European Defence Fund both in its research and capability windows;
  • welcomes the work undertaken to strengthen civilian CSDP and calls for an agreement on a civilian CSDP Compact by the end of this year, thus providing a new EU framework for civilian crisis management and CSDP missions, with ambitious commitments at EU and national level. It recalls that military and civilian aspects need to be addressed in a comprehensive manner with a focus on concrete deliverables;
  • welcomes the Joint Communication on Europe’s resilience to hybrid and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear-related threats and calls for the adoption as soon as possible of a new EU regime of restrictive measures to address the use and proliferation of chemical weapons. Following the extraordinary Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, the EU commits itself to supporting the implementation of its outcomes;
  • invites the High Representative and the Commission to present, in cooperation with the Member States and in line with the March 2015 European Council conclusions, an action plan by December 2018 with specific proposals for a coordinated EU response to the challenge of disinformation, including appropriate mandates and sufficient resources for the relevant EEAS Strategic Communications teams;
  • stresses the need to strengthen capabilities against cybersecurity threats from outside the EU and asks the institutions and Member States to implement the measures referred to in the Joint Communication, including the work on attribution of cyber-attacks and the practical use of the cyber diplomacy toolbox;
  • calls for further coordination between Member States and, as appropriate, at EU level and in consultation with NATO, to reduce the threat from hostile intelligence activities;
  • calls for further deepening of EU-NATO cooperation, in full respect of the principles of inclusiveness, reciprocity and decision-making autonomy of the EU, including through a new Joint Declaration, building on the progress made in implementing the 2016 Joint Declaration and the related proposals for action;
  • welcomes the intention of the Commission to present a legislative proposal to improve the detection and removal of content that incites hatred and to commit terrorist acts.

PESCO projects in military mobility

Luxembourg. Foreign affairs and defence ministers discussed security and defence cooperation in the EU. Namely the permanent structured cooperation (PESCO); the military mobility; the initiatives proposed in the framework of the future multiannual financial framework, in view of the European Defence Fund and the European peace facility; the fight against hybrid threats in light of the joint communication of 13 June.

The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said the “important decisions” will advance the EU defence work in preparation for the European Council. The ministers adopted the rules for the governance of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) projects.  From now onwards they will  focus on the implementation of the 17 already existing projects.

The  preparation of the new set of projects to be adopted by November and the work they will start to prepare the conditions for third countries’ participation in PESCO projects.

The misnisters also took a decision on the first steps on the implementation of the Military Mobility Action Plan, for which the proposal on the table on the Multiannual Financial Framework is a € 6.5 billion for the next 7 years. We also decided to move forward with the strengthening of our work on the civilian work on security and defence and the Member States welcomed my proposals to counter hybrid threats. So I will bring this entire package to the European Council on Thursday in Brussels.

“Member States also welcomed the proposal I made on our financial instruments to support our defence and security work. There is a European Peace Facility idea on the table. We will now move on with the Member States to look at the details of this proposal” – Mogherini continued.

Mogherini claimed she had an excellent exchange with the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who joined ministers. “We looked at the challenges that the transatlantic relations are facing today and they do not relate to our work on defence and security, which has been excellent. We have worked together to prepare our deliverables for the NATO Summit at the beginning of July” – the diplomat concluded.

“We decided to increase the level of cooperation even more and focus on the most positive state of relationship we can have. It has never been as good as now and I hope this spirit of good cooperation between the European Union and NATO will also help in solving some of the issues on other tables that could be challenging in the months to come” – Mogherini concluded.


#PESCO: first defence projects adopted

On 6 March 2018, the Council adopted a roadmap for the implementation of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). This roadmap provides strategic direction and guidance on how to structure further work on both processes and governance, including for projects and in relation to the sequencing of the fulfilment of commitments.

In this regard, it sets out a calendar for the review and assessment process of the national implementation plans which detail how participating member states plan to fulfil the more binding commitments they have made to one another.

It also provides a timeline for agreement on possible future projects, as well as the main tenets of a common set of governance rules for projects to be adopted by the Council by the end of June 2018.

The Council also adopted a decision formally establishing the initial list of 17 collaborative projects, which were agreed politically in December 2017. The projects cover areas such as training, capability development and operational readiness in the field of defence.

The 25 member states participating in PESCO are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.

European Defence to advance in March

The March Foreign Affairs Council will start with a discussion the permanent structured cooperation (PESCO). Ministers are expected to adopt a decision formally establishing the list of projects to be developed under PESCO. They are also expected to adopt a recommendation on an implementation roadmap of PESCO.

Last December, the Council adopted a decision establishing PESCO. The 25 member states taking part in PESCO have already agreed on the initial list of 17 collaborative projects.

Defence ministers will exchange views on the implementation of the EU Global Strategy in the field of security and defence. They will focus amongst others on the coordinated annual review on defence (CARD), the European defence fund (EDF), CSDP partnerships, and the ongoing work on military mobility.

The Council will then review the EU training missions deployed in Central African RepublicMali and Somalia. It will be the opportunity to review the functioning of the military planning and conduct capability (MPCC). Established in June 2017, the MPCC oversees EU training missions.

Over lunch, defence ministers will discuss EU-NATO cooperation together with the Secretary-General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg.

EU calls for active participation in PESCO

The European Council (#EUCO) reviewed progress achieved in the field of security and defence, and welcomed the “ambitious and inclusive” permanent structured
co-operation (PESCO) and stresses the significance of rapid implementation of the first
projects. Subsequently #EUCO  calls member-states for active participation and swift delivery of national implementation plans. PESCO should be footed by European Defence Fund, and in particular the “swift” adoption in 2018 of the European Defence Industrial Development Programme to be able to finance the first capability projects in 2019.

#EUCO expects the Council to complete the comprehensive revision of the Athena mechanism for financing common costs of EU military missions and operations, and
requests the adoption in spring 2018, a recommendation on a new dedicated
instrument covering all requirements for Capacity Building in support of Security and
Development after 2020.

#EUCO asks for work to proceed on implementing the full set of proposals on EU-NATO
cooperation, including the additional ones agreed in December, and invites the High Representative, the Commission and the Member States to bring work
forward on military mobility, both in #PESCO and in the context of EU-NATO

The European Council will return to these matters in June 2018.

EU Summit assesses defence and migration

At December 14-15 Summit the EU leaders will assess a number of the most pressing issues, including defence, migration, foreign affairs, social issues, education and culture.

“Our unity in recent months has been outstanding, and I would like to thank every one of you for this. We have demonstrated that we stand firmly together, supporting one another when needed. Also this week we can demonstrate that despite differences, maintaining unity is possible. The best example of this will be the launch of new cooperation in European defence, i.e. Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO)” – president of the EU Council Donald Tusk said ahead of the event.

European Defence Industry Summit

The participants of the European Defence Industry Summit engaged in an intense debate over the perspectives and challenges in internal and external dimension within a new framework of activation of Lisbon Treaty clause on Common Defence. The European defence industries have already presented more than 50 projects for approval of the EU bodies and implementation in the nearest future, however they are just at the beginning of the synergy process.

At the Summit, taking place in d’Egmont Palace in Brussels on December 5, the experts, industry representatives and EU civil servants, NATO officials and press debated on possible ways to develop the endeavour to respond to citizens increasing concerns with the security, and their expectation for the EU protection from new threats. The participants underlined that NATO remains the bedrock of the European security, however the EU industries have a new role within latest political developments summarised in decisions of the European Commission and Council to create Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defence #PESCO.

The industries confirmed their willingness to back up the EU ambition to stay a global player in decades to come and an efficient security provider for its citizens, supplying European “soft” power with the latest models of technology and equipment.

In spite of the good will and enthusiasm about new developments, the participants indicated they can not ignore the pitfalls on the way to unite the fractured into multiple, often duplicating each other national undertakings. The closure of entire branches of national industries inevitably leads to implications on labor market, thus loss of jobs, confronting politicians with uneasy choice to face discontent of the losers in next elections.

The participants also confirmed they prepare, as the other industries, for the consequences of #Brexit, which attracted keen attention during the debate. The speakers underlined the sensitivity of the financial matters in general, they also pointed that without an adequate financial support from the EU  the majority of plans would remain projects on paper without a chance of being implemented.

The speakers of the Summit reflected on the decision of the European Commission to commit common funds for defence related activities, however the finances alone, according to the speakers, would not bring to live the ambitious programme of co-operation.

The experts pointed at new threats, and a profound need of a deeper level of confidence in information sharing between the EU member-states to overcome the current fragmentation of industries. Answers to modern type of threats lie in development of technologies and science to determine success of military operation at present, and in the future – the cyber-space is increasingly a matter of concern. Sharing of knowledge and innovation stays a one of the effective methods of reaching defence industries synergy.

Confronted with the new threats the industries confirmed the paramount significance of the development of the science and research, including artificial intelligence, robotics, IT technologies, and quantum computing. As the experts underlined, the optimal military decisions can be taken based on analysis of correct and full data, access to which will determine the victors of the future.

Keen to promote a more integrated internal market for defence goods and EU coordinated research and development, the players paid a special attention to smaller EU economies, to protect interests of employees in the defence industry, particularly in a period of transition, and support the modernisation of old, and creation of new branches in sectoral divisions.

On 13 November 2017 ministers from 23 member states signed a joint notification on the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) to deliver to the High Representative and the Council. The prospect of the Permanent Structured Cooperation in the area of defence security and defence policy has been enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty. It foresees a number of options of the EU member states working closely together in the area of security and defence. 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.

Mogherini claims “historic day” for EU defence

“It is going to be quite a historic day today for European defence. Today, after so many years, the provision of the Lisbon Treaty establishing the possibility for the European Union Member States to have a Permanent Structured Cooperation on defence is going to be initiated” – said EU top diplomat upon her arrival at the Foreign Affairs Council in Defence format.

“I expect to receive a letter – a notification letter – from a high number of Member States, more than 20, indicating their will to start a Permanent Structured Cooperation. This will allow us to prepare a Council decision already in the next weeks” – Mogerini continued.

“I expect the next Foreign Affairs Council to adopt this formal decision so that we will be able to launch, for the first time ever, a European Defence Permanent Structured Cooperation with concrete projects that Member States have presented already – more than 50 concrete projects both in the field of capabilities and in the field of operations.”

“So, today we will launch a new page for the European Defence and I think this will be the news of the day.”

“We will also discuss with the NATO Secretary General [Jens Stoltenberg] our EU-NATO cooperation that is advancing extremely well. In December, with [Jens] Stoltenberg, we will present the second report on our common activities, more than 42 concrete measures that have already been implemented, and we will also look at the future fields for cooperation.”

“We will expand on the concrete ideas on which we cooperate and we will have a discussion today with the Defence Ministers and [Jens] Stoltenberg on this.”

“With the Foreign Ministers in the morning we will also have short points: one on the Summit between the European Union and the African Union which will take place at the end of the month in Abidjan – a very important summit for strengthening our partnership-; and one point on strategic communication.”

“You know we have very much increased our communication, especially with the focus on Eastern Europe, but also on the Western Balkans and on the Mediterranean. We will discuss with the Ministers how they can further support this work that I have initiated two years ago for the East Strategic Communication Task Force, and this summer on the Western Balkans and the Mediterranean.”

“I expect Member States and Ministers to support my request to increase the budget for strategic communication, especially for the Task Forces. We live in times when communicating both internally in the European Union and in our region, the value of the actions of the European Union has a political value, so I expect support from the Member States on this.”


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