Air Platforms

Growing list of PESCO projects to depend heavily on co-ordinated defence planning

20 November 2018

EU defence ministries coughed up a mixed bag of results during their meetings in Brussels on 19–20 November, approving 17 more Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) projects for a new total of 34, plus a new co-ordinated approach to defence planning. However, they failed to agree on a budgetary increase for the European Defence Agency (EDA) in 2019.

The ministers hailed the new round of PESCO projects in glowing terms, with German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, for example, telling reporters on 19 November that they “are steps on the way to an army of Europeans”.

The projects adopted include creation of a joint EU intelligence school, led by Greece and Cyprus; an integrated unmanned ground system involving 10 EU countries; a Franco-Italian effort to develop a European high atmosphere airship platform for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; and a German-led proposal supported by Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Spain to share bases and other infrastructure within and beyond Europe.

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