Euro­pean Union Gives Im­pe­tus to Joint De­fence

THISDAY - - INTERNATIONAL -

Most of the Euro­pean Union’s mem­ber states have signed up to a plan for closer de­fence co-op­er­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to a BBC re­port.

The UK and Repub­lic of Ire­land are among five states not par­tic­i­pat­ing.

The other 23 are now com­mit­ted to the per­ma­nent struc­tured mil­i­tary co-op­er­a­tion (“Pesco”) plan to boost their de­fence bud­gets and joint ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

EU forces have gone to some hotspots, in­clud­ing the Cen­tral African Repub­lic and Kosovo. But in some cases they have been short of fund­ing and equip­ment.

Un­der Pesco, each coun­try has to pro­vide a plan for na­tional con­tri­bu­tions.

The par­tic­i­pants will be backed by a Euro­pean De­fence Fund that should be worth €5bn (£4.5bn; $5.8bn) an­nu­ally af­ter 2020. The money will be used for weapons re­search and equip­ment pur­chases.

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