Published: Mon, November 13, 2017
Culture | By Stewart Greene

European Union launches new era in defense cooperation

European Union launches new era in defense cooperation

Mogherini said countries have already submitted more than 50 joint projects in the fields of defense capabilities and military operations.

German Foreign Minister Gabriel lauded the agreement as "a great step toward self-sufficiency and strengthening the European Union's security and defense policy - really a milestone in European development".

She added: "It is essential to avoid importing into Lebanon regional conflicts, regional dynamics, regional tensions, that have to stay out of the country".

Mogherini said the move would complement NATO's security aims.

In his first TV interview since he resigned November 4, Hariri said he was compelled to resign to save Lebanon from unspecified imminent dangers. Mogherini, EU military chiefs and the European Defence Agency will then evaluate whether the plans are being respected. Since the failure of the European Defence Community more than 60 years ago there have been numerous attempts to achieve closer military union, but they have foundered as member states have proven reluctant to hand over responsibility for military matters. "The real problem is not how much we spend, it is the fact that we spend in a fragmented manner".

Paris and Berlin offered competing visions for the pact, with France pushing for a smaller group of nations to commit to ambitious projects including possible foreign interventions such as in Libya or Mali.

Participation is voluntary for the EU's 28 member states. "It has no chance of working".

Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal and Malta did not join the pact, but the initiative remains open to any country that decides to sign up later, officials said. The EU, she said, has tools to fight hybrid warfare - the use of conventional weapons mixed with things like propaganda and cyber-attacks - that the military alliance does not have at its disposal.

The EU stresses that PESCO is complimentary to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, in which 22 of the EU's 28 countries are members. The notice of intent to be inked in Brussels on Monday, seen by AFP, includes a pledge to "regularly increasing defence budgets in real terms" as well as commitments to devote 20 percent of defence spending on procurement and two percent on research and technology. At launch the focus will be project-driven such as the development new military equipment such as tanks or drones.

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