EU will move towards defence ties with more than 20 states

Vastavam web: The EU will move towards closer defence ties today with more than 20 states signing a landmark pact that aims to boost cooperation after Brexit and counteract Russian pressure.Similar efforts to deepen military links have been frustrated for decades, partly by Britain’s fierce opposition to anything that might lead to a European army.The agreement is part of efforts led by Germany and France to reboot the European Union after Britain’s decision to leave and follows the announcement in June of a 5.5-billion euro European Defence Fund.
The pact’s backers say it will complement NATO, which will keep its primary role in defending Europe.Spanish Defence Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal hailed PESCO last week as “possibly the EU’s most ambitious current project”.”We have more than 20 member states … not just signing paper — undertaking commitments in terms of spending on defence and joint projects.”PESCO could lead to the creation of a European military hospital or logistics hub, but will first focus on projects to develop new military equipment such as tanks or drones with the aim of harmonising weapons systems and eliminating gaps in capabilities.Countries that are not in the EU can also take part in specific missions — opening the way to possible participation by nuclear power Britain after it leaves the bloc in 2019 though they will have no role in decision-making.In March ministers approved plans to create an embryonic military headquarters to coordinate EU overseas security operations.