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  1. #1
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    Pesco

    23 out of 28 EU members today signed a declaration that they will PESCO. It will officially be signed into power in one month.

    What PESCO is:
    PESCO is a Treaty-based framework and process to deepen defence cooperation amongst EU Member States who are capable and willing to do so. The aim is to jointly develop defence capabilities and make them available for EU military operations. This will thus enhance the EU’s capacity as an international security partner, also contributing to protection of Europeans and maximise the effectiveness of defence spending.

    The difference between PESCO and other forms of cooperation is the binding nature of the commitments undertaken by participating Member States. However, participation remains voluntary and decision-making will remain in the hands of participating Member States.
    Well, other than being an abbreviation for "Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defence". And apparently the italian word for "peach".

    Legally it's an enactment of Article 46 of the Lisbon Treaty. This basically enacts a defence cooperation framework in which participating members have to fulfill a number of criteria - which for how PESCO was signed can be found here:
    http://www.consilium.europa.eu/media...tification.pdf

    Basically it copies a number of requirements over from NATO (defence budget increases aimed to go to 2%, R&D expenditure of 20% in military budget) - also some "considering to commit" stuff which is about as non-committal as with NATO. It omits a couple other NATO things (non-committal mutual defense, foremost) since that's already provided for by the Lisbon Treaty for the entirety of the EU. However it also embeds criteria for nations joining PESCO that are a bit more committing and going a bit further than with NATO:
    • "Making available formations, that are strategically deployable, for the realization of the EU LoA, in addition to a potential deployment of an EUBG."
    • "Substantially contributing to EU BG by confirmation of contributions in principle at least four years in advance, with a stand-by period in line with the EU BG concept, obligation to carry out EU BG exercises for the EU BG force
      package (framework nation) and/or to participate in these exercises (all EU Member States participating in EU BG)."
    • "Help to overcome capability shortcomings identified under the Capability Development Plan (CDP) and CARD. These capability projects shall increase Europe’s strategic autonomy and strengthen the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB)."
    • No quietly sitting by either: "Take part in at least one project under the PESCO which develops or provides capabilities identified as strategically relevant by Member States."

    and a couple more like that.

    What's really funny about PESCO is how it is portrayed in different EU nations. In Germany it is hailed as finally resurrecting the defence union that France denied us back in '54, in Ireland they're really, really trying to express the notion that this "does not establish a European Army". The British tabloid press calls it just that of course. The communists in the Portuguese parliament in a somewhat bizarre version call it becoming auxiliary troops under German control in order to either fight Russia or to slaughter refugees.

    Who didn't join PESCO:
    • Malta, since it considers itself neutral - armed neutral
    • Ireland, since it pretends to be neutral and has to have a discussion first
    • Portugal, since it needs to qualm the communists supporting the government first
    • Denmark, since it is legally not allowed to join any sort of defence cooperation
    • the UK, for being the UK

    Portugal and Ireland will likely both join up in the next four weeks, i.e. before it goes "official".

    In the end it's pretty much a Franco-German military alliance that requires everyone else to pull along; that also led to a little tug-of-war: Germany wanted as many EU members as possible to join, France wanted to shut out those that would disturb the process and interfere. For this reason Poland also only decided to join this weekend.
    Last edited by kato; 13 Nov 17, at 19:57.

  2. #2
    Senior Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    23 out of 28 EU members today signed a declaration that they will PESCO. It will officially be signed into power in one month.

    What PESCO is:

    Well, other than being an abbreviation for "Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defence". And apparently the italian word for "peach".

    Legally it's an enactment of Article 46 of the Lisbon Treaty. This basically enacts a defence cooperation framework in which participating members have to fulfill a number of criteria - which for how PESCO was signed can be found here:
    http://www.consilium.europa.eu/media...tification.pdf

    Basically it copies a number of requirements over from NATO (defence budget increases aimed to go to 2%, R&D expenditure of 20% in military budget) - also some "considering to commit" stuff which is about as non-committal as with NATO. It omits a couple other NATO things (non-committal mutual defense, foremost) since that's already provided for by the Lisbon Treaty for the entirety of the EU. However it also embeds criteria for nations joining PESCO that are a bit more committing and going a bit further than with NATO:
    • "Making available formations, that are strategically deployable, for the realization of the EU LoA, in addition to a potential deployment of an EUBG."
    • "Substantially contributing to EU BG by confirmation of contributions in principle at least four years in advance, with a stand-by period in line with the EU BG concept, obligation to carry out EU BG exercises for the EU BG force
      package (framework nation) and/or to participate in these exercises (all EU Member States participating in EU BG)."
    • "Help to overcome capability shortcomings identified under the Capability Development Plan (CDP) and CARD. These capability projects shall increase Europe’s strategic autonomy and strengthen the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB)."
    • No quietly sitting by either: "Take part in at least one project under the PESCO which develops or provides capabilities identified as strategically relevant by Member States."

    and a couple more like that.

    What's really funny about PESCO is how it is portrayed in different EU nations. In Germany it is hailed as finally resurrecting the defence union that France denied us back in '54, in Ireland they're really, really trying to express the notion that this "does not establish a European Army". The British tabloid press calls it just that of course. The communists in the Portuguese parliament in a somewhat bizarre version call it becoming auxiliary troops under German control in order to either fight Russia or to slaughter refugees.

    Who didn't join PESCO:
    • Malta, since it considers itself neutral - armed neutral
    • Ireland, since it pretends to be neutral and has to have a discussion first
    • Portugal, since it needs to qualm the communists supporting the government first
    • Denmark, since it is legally not allowed to join any sort of defence cooperation
    • the UK, for being the UK

    Portugal and Ireland will likely both join up in the next four weeks, i.e. before it goes "official".

    In the end it's pretty much a Franco-German military alliance that requires everyone else to pull along; that also led to a little tug-of-war: Germany wanted as many EU members as possible to join, France wanted to shut out those that would disturb the process and interfere. For this reason Poland also only decided to join this weekend.
    Sounds like a good idea, but will it just be another paper tiger?

    Denmark is a part of NATO, last I heard ....

    Good luck with the Italians and the French
    Last edited by Toby; 14 Nov 17, at 19:51.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    Denmark is a part of NATO, last I heard ....
    Denmark got opt-outs from the Maastricht treaty in 1992; NATO predates that by a couple decades. For defense originally it bailed out of joining the WEU, by now turned into CDSP of the EU. There are opinion polls among Danish that see a considerable majority (66:21) for joining CDSP, although politically only left-wing parties support it.

    The good part about PESCO is that within it, you don't have to join every project. You should take part in some - otherwise there's no sense in being part of it - and you're kinda pressured to at least use some joint European facilities set up (e.g. the EDA) but as a nation you don't have to sign up for stuff you don't want. And if you don't join a project you don't have a say in it either.

    Overall downside in my opinion is that the list of about 50 proposed initial projects and hence the level of ambition of PESCO isn't public - so far. The main list is apparently about 30-40 projects in a joint list drawn up by the defence ministers of Germany, France, Italy and Spain, assuming these would become lead nations in such projects; the list is supposedly additionally sponsored by the Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic and Finland as minor partners in these projects. Population-wise that's two-thirds of the EU27. There's some hints on official pages that some of the "softer" projects may be e.g. installation of a European Medical Command, establishing an integrated logistics network ("Military Schengen", as USAREUR calls it) or shifting joint/cross-border officer training into such a project; less "soft" projects may e.g. establish a joint air transport wing - an attempt by Germany to get rid of a couple A400M, they've been trying that a couple times now - or shifting the EuroDrone MALE development into a PESCO project.

    For a very detailed view on it all people should read this: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegDat...)603842_EN.pdf (89-page study on PESCO from July - also highlighting where the problems with it are)

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    Ireland is joining up once they've voted on it, now official: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/poli...nism-1.3300240

    In Portugal the weaseling claim by the government that it could not hand in its accession since the responsible committee didn't meet until 3 hours after the deadline (but will join before Dec 11th) is being heavily criticized by members of the ruling party itself:
    https://www.dn.pt/lusa/interior/mira...m-8925099.html (en portugues)
    The criticism is apparently mostly about the "signal" that not joining sends, basically about portraying Portugal as not supportive of Europe.

    Malta is reserving a spot for itself but not joining anytime soon: http://www.independent.com.mt/articl...-on-6736181621

    In Denmark there have been calls in the press for a referendum to enable joining PESCO.

  5. #5
    Senior Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    Ireland is joining up once they've voted on it, now official: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/poli...nism-1.3300240

    In Portugal the weaseling claim by the government that it could not hand in its accession since the responsible committee didn't meet until 3 hours after the deadline (but will join before Dec 11th) is being heavily criticized by members of the ruling party itself:
    https://www.dn.pt/lusa/interior/mira...m-8925099.html (en portugues)
    The criticism is apparently mostly about the "signal" that not joining sends, basically about portraying Portugal as not supportive of Europe.

    Malta is reserving a spot for itself but not joining anytime soon: http://www.independent.com.mt/articl...-on-6736181621

    In Denmark there have been calls in the press for a referendum to enable joining PESCO.
    In theory I agree with the idea of it...In practice we'll see. You might find its not the countries that didn't join or question it....its the ones who are in it that obstruct.....but yes spreading costs is sensible these days with the cost of certain projects.

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