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Military Union: Council agrees new cooperation measures, MEPs seeking Commission DG on defence
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The Council of the European Union has established 'Permanent Structured Cooperation' (PESCO) on military issues with the participation of 25 Member States, including a commitment for "regularly increasing defence budgets in real terms"; while the European Parliament will vote tomorrow (12 December) on a resolution that calls for creation of a Commission Directorate-General on Defence.

Council of the EU

Press release: Defence cooperation: Council establishes Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), with 25 member states participating (pdf):

"On 11 December 2017, the Council adopted a decision establishing Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), less than a month after receiving a joint notification by member states of their intention to participate.

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. On 13 November 2017, ministers from 23 member states signed a joint notification on the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and handed it over to the High Representative and the Council. On 7 December 2017, Ireland and Portugal also notified their decision to join PESCO.

Permanent Structured Cooperation in the area of security and defence policy was introduced by the Lisbon Treaty. It foresees the possibility of a number of EU member states working more closely together in the area of security and defence. This permanent framework for defence cooperation will allow 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."

And: Declaration on PESCO projects (pdf), Council Decision establishing Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and determining the list of participating Member States (14866/17, pdf)

See also: European Council (14 December 2017) – Draft conclusions (LIMITE doc no 13862-17, pdf)

European Parliament

The EU Parliament opens the way for a Defence Commissioner and pushes states to find €76 bn for weapons (Investigate Europe, link):

"The European Parliament will adopt next week in Strasbourg a resolution asking for a radical bureaucratic boost on defence matters. The draft resolution “on the implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy” that has already been approved by the Committee on Foreign Affairs (voted by EPP, Liberals/ALDE and Social Democrats), is a major step towards further militarisation. It follows up on rapid developments since the beginning of the year.

Most importantly: For the first time ever, the resolution makes the case for the creation of a Commission Directorate General (DG)-Defence to administer all relative instruments and agencies implicated in defence policy making.

Although the text refrains from proposing a defence commissioner, this will be the realistic outcome of such a proposal. DGs are led by Commissioners who are comparable to ministers at national level. The resolution also requests establishing a “fully fledged defence budget” under the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF – EU 2021-2027 budget)."

See: REPORT on the Annual report on the implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy (2017/2123(INI)) (pdf)

On the agenda for the EP plenary 12 December. Includes dissenting minority opinion.



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