Foreign Ministers of 25 EU countries officially launched a draft defense cooperation

An illuminated euro sign is seen in front of the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in the late evening in Frankfurt January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Today, the heads of the foreign ministries of 25 EU countries officially launched the permanent structured defense cooperation of the EU (PESCO).

“The Foreign Affairs Council made an official decision on launching PESCO on December 11, 2017. Less than a month ago, the council received from the member states a general expression of intention,” the Council of Europe said in a statement.

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

On November 13, 23 countries signed a joint expression of intent, on December 7, Portugal and Ireland announced their intention to join the initiative.

PESCO does not participate in Great Britain, Malta and Denmark.

EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Federica Mogherini, who arrived in the morning for a meeting of the council, said that 25 countries will decide to establish PESCO and approve 17 joint projects.

“I’m glad that this morning we at Coreper reached an agreement on the legal act on the launch of PESCO,” Estonia’s permanent representative to the EU Kaya Tael wrote on Monday morning on Twitter.

PESCO obliges the EU countries to cooperate more and more systematically: to increase defense spending, provide their units for conducting EU operations, create joint military capabilities and strengthen the defense industry. At the same time, the countries will retain the sovereign right to manage their state defense.