The EU has moved a step closer towards having a joint military force by signing an agreement on a permanent command structure. PESCO, or Permanent Structured Cooperation, was signed by 23 members of the 28-strong European Union on Monday.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini supported the move, hailing it as an “historic moment.” Backed by a €5-billion ($6.5-billion) EU defense fund, PESCO “will enable member states to use the economy of scale of Europe and in this manner to fulfil the gap of output that we have.”
The agreement signed by 23 defense ministers in Brussels will come into force in December, after which members will be legally bound to participate in projects under PESCO.
Work on the agreement started last year amid uncertainty over the UK’s decision to withdraw from the European Union, and US President Donald Trump’s continued criticism of European NATO members for failing to deliver on defense-spending commitments.