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NATO not enough? EU launches own military alliance PESCO

 
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:48 am    Post subject: NATO not enough? EU launches own military alliance PESCO Reply with quote

NATO not enough? EU launches own military alliance
https://www.rt.com/news/409724-eu-army-agreement-signed/

The EU has moved a step closer towards having a joint military force by signing an agreement on a permanent command structure.
The agreement on PESCO, or Permanent Structured Cooperation, was signed in Brussels 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 will come into force in December, after which members will be legally bound to participate in projects under PESCO. Work on the pact 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.

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European heavyweights Germany and France are leading the effort to bring the EU closer to having a permanent joint armed force. The UK, which has been opposing a pan-European military force for decades, is not part of the agreement. Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, and Malta opted out; while Austria, not a member of NATO, agreed to join at the last moment.

PESCO is touted as a path to boost the efficiency of the European military by eliminating redundancies, streamlining defense acquisitions, and boosting logistics through a network of hubs spread across the continent. It is also intended to establish joint training of military officers. NATO’s attempt to reform the contribution of European allies goes along similar lines.

According to Reuters, Germany and France were in disagreement over the future role for a joint European military force, with Paris advocating for a more exclusive and capable defense club with potential for overseas deployments. Berlin, which championed a more inclusive approach, apparently prevailed with its vision.

Unlike some other efforts in Europe to consolidate their military, PESCO is not being opposed by NATO, which says it will make the militaries of European members stronger.

How the future pan-European military would be used is yet to be seen. However, the EU may be preparing for a possible significant instability affecting some of its members, suggested geostrategic expert Konstantin Sokolov.

“In a scenario of social disruption in a country, its police force becomes unreliable because it is staffed by regular citizens, who have local families and friends and may not support the government policies. They are affected by the turmoil,” he told RT. “But an international force would just follow orders and are less impacted by the sentiment in the local population.”

PESCO won’t be a substitute to NATO, but it may well reduce Europe's overdependence on the US-led bloc for its security, Hall Gardner, Professor at the American University of Paris told RT. The concept of a joint European military force isn’t new, but the idea was given fresh impetus after “Trump frightened the Europeans to believe that the US and NATO might not defend European interests,” he said.

“PESCO can potentially help Europe reduce its overdependence on NATO” as well as make European defenses cheaper and better integrated, the expert said. However, it will only have a positive impact “if the Europeans can better balance their defense and security concerns between the US/NATO and the Russian-led CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization),” Gardner added.

“PESCO will not be able to substitute for NATO and will not be able to develop truly offensive military capabilities for quite a long time, so it should primarily concentrate on air defense, maritime protection, peacekeeping and other security measures,” Gardner outlined.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't make their mind up, now it's European Deterrence Initiative, or EDI

U.S. seeks "robust involvement" in EU defence pact - sources
Andrea Shalal
FEBRUARY 28, 2018 / 9:56 AM
BERLIN (Reuters) - The U.S government has told EU states that it and other non-EU NATO allies should play a key role in a European defence pact, diplomatic sources said on Tuesday.

The message, sent to defence and foreign ministries, was meant to underscore Washington’s worries that the pact could duplicate NATO efforts and possibly shut out U.S. arms makers from future European defence contracts, the sources told Reuters.

Twenty-five EU governments launched the agreement in December to fund, develop and deploy armed forces together, ending the squandering of billions of euros by splintered defence policies and reducing Europe’s heavy reliance on Washington.

The message, sent in a diplomatic cable earlier this month, said Washington supported the plan, but expected the “robust involvement” of NATO and particularly non-EU members of the trans-Atlantic defence alliance, the sources said.

“The two main concerns are that there’s no duplication with NATO and that non-EU allies are not cut out of competitions for future weapons,” one of the sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

“If the EU countries are joining forces to make acquisitions that are ultimately going to be used in the NATO context, there should be fair and open competitions,” the source added.

France and Germany have already announced plans to develop a next-generation European fighter jet and Germany is leading an effort to develop a new European drone.

“IRONIC”

One European official said the U.S. concern about being shut out was “a bit ironic,” given U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy, and the problems that European firms have historically had breaking into the U.S. weapons market.

The U.S. message echoed remarks made by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Munich Security Conference earlier this month in which he highlighted the importance of non-EU allies in paying for European defences.

Once Britain leaves the EU, he said, 80 percent of NATO defence spending will come from non-EU allies.

The sources said Washington also told EU states in a separate cable that it planned to boost funding for increased U.S. military exercises and training in Europe by $1.7 billion to $6.5 billion in the fiscal 2019 year beginning on Oct. 1.

The initiative, initially known as the European Reassurance Initiative, was launched in 2014 by then U.S. President Barack Obama in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region. It has since been renamed the European Deterrence Initiative, or EDI.

The cable, sent out late last week and early this week, said the U.S. was living up to its obligations to ensure the defence of all NATO members in what one of the sources called “a subtle prod to other allies to increase their own funding.”

Trump has been pressing European countries to increase their defence spending and honour agreements to move towards spending 2 percent of economic output on the military by 2024.

NATO expects eight of NATO’s 29 members to meet the target in 2018, growing to at least 15 in 2024.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Andrew Heavens
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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