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Foreign Affairs Council on defence: first meeting in 'PESCO format'
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"Defence ministers met in 'PESCO format' for the first time. This means that, although ministers from all member states were present, only those representing member states participating in PESCO were involved in adopting legal acts. Today they adopted a decision formally establishing the list of projects to be developed under PESCO and a recommendation on an implementation roadmap.

In their discussion, defence ministers underlined the importance of implementing PESCO projects and pursuing work to define processes and governance in the months to come."

See: Outcome of 3602nd Council meeting: Foreign Affairs: Defence issues, Brussels, 6 March 2018 (6838/18, pdf)

PESCO stands for Permanent Structured Cooperation and concerns a European defence pact that 25 Member States have signed up to with the aim of "increased investment in defence and cooperation in developing defence capabilities."

At the 6 March meeting the Council adopted a: Recommendation concerning a roadmap for the implementation of PESCO (pdf):

"The objective of this recommendation is to provide strategic direction and guidance for the implementation of PESCO, in order to structure the necessary further work on processes and governance, including as regards the projects, with a view to participating Member States fulfilling the more binding commitments they have made to one another, as set out in the Annex of Decision (CFSP) 2017/2315."

And a: Council Decision establishing the list of projects to be developed under PESCO (pdf): containing 17 projects to be undertaken through the mechanism and the states participating in each one.

See: European External Action Service factsheet: Permanent Structured Cooperation - PESCO (pdf)

Further information is also available in the background note to the Council meeting (5 March 2018, pdf).

The process of which PESCO is part has been critically analysed elsewhere. See: The Military-Industrial Complex Is Fundamentally Changing the European Union (The Nation, link):

"EU leaders are planning a massive arms buildup—and, amid panic over terror attacks, the critics have been marginalized."

Further reading

Research agenda considers "non-lethal force by unmanned platforms" for civil and military use (Statewatch News, 20 February 2018)

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