EU Member Nations Sign Defense Pact

Major Step Towards EU Army as European Leaders Sign Military Pact – And Britain May Be Sucked In

Membership of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) initiative will present an opportunity for Slovakia to bolster its defence capabilities, both for national purposes and in meeting its worldwide commitments, said Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) who signed an intention for Slovakia to join PESCO along with State Secretary for Foreign and European Affairs, Ivan Korčok, in Brussels on November 13.

"We will be part of this project", a Polish diplomat who wanted to remain anonymous told PAP.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini hailed the decision as a "historic moment in European defence".

Gabriel's comments were made as 23 EU member states agreed to establish a new EU defense union known as "Permanent Structured Cooperation" (PESCO). However, Gabriel expressed the view that more military cooperation would allow European Union states to save money in the long-run with greater efficiency and effectiveness.

It also provides a "crucial political framework" for European Union member states to improve their military assets and defense capabilities through coordinated initiatives.

The possibility of the Permanent Structured Cooperation in the area of defense security and defense policy was introduced by the Lisbon Treaty.

Germany and France have backed plans to reboot EU defence operations, including an announcement in June of a 5.5-billion euro European Defence Fund. The PESCO drive however has revealed strains between Paris and Berlin, with the French pushing for a smaller group of nations committed to ambitious projects and Germany wanting a more inclusive arrangement with as numerous bloc's 27 members - minus Britain - as possible.

With the notification signed, a final decision to launch the defense cooperation framework is expected in December.

"The Germans say respect unity and proceed modestly at the start with all these little projects - they won't help the EU's independent capacity", Mr Mauro said.

Writing in the newspaper "Rheinische Post", Lindner argued that the "EU was not a state, but rather a federation of states". This has led to unease by European allies that the U.S. was not committed to the alliance's mutual defence pact.

Mogherini said the move would complement NATO's security aims.

Participants have signed up to a list of commitments which "include increasing the share of expenditure allocated to defense research and technology with a view to nearing the 2 percent of total defense spending" and to "regularly increasing defense budgets in real terms".

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