[JURIST] Twenty-three EU member states on Monday signed [press release] a joint notification [text, PDF] for the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), a long sought after pact which will facilitate states working together more closely on defense security and defense policy matters.
The idea of cooperation in defense security and defense policy was introduced in the Lisbon Treaty [official website] in 2007. The signed notification to the High Commissioner and European Council is the first step in achieving full implementation of a unified defense framework. The notification describes PESCO's objective, in part, as:
PESCO is an ambitious, binding and inclusive European legal framework for investments in the security and defence of the EU's territory and its citizens. PESCO also provides a crucial political framework for all Member States to improve their respective military assets and defence capabilities through well-coordinated initiatives and concrete projects based on more binding commitments. Enhanced defence capabilities of EU Member States will also benefit NATO. They will strengthen the European pillar within the Alliance and respond to repeated demands for stronger transatlantic burden sharing.The states that signed the notification include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. The states which declined to sign but may be permitted to adopt PESCO at a later date, include Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, and Malta.
The next step is for EU leaders to sign the pact which may occur in December at the Foreign Affairs Council.