European Union Gives Impetus to Joint Defence
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.