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EU Members Formally Agree To Launch Defense Cooperation Structure

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini

BRUSSELS -- Twenty-five European Union member states have taken the formal decision to establish a new defense and security cooperation network.

Meeting in Brussels on December 11, the foreign ministers of France, Germany, and 23 other member states adopted the decision to establish the Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defense, or PESCO.

The move comes a month after EU foreign and defense ministers from 23 member states notified EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini about their willingness to launch the initiative.

Mogherini hailed the signing of the document as a “historic moment.”

“This is the beginning of a common work. Twenty-three member states engaging both on capabilities and on operational steps is something big,” she said.

Portugal and Ireland later joined the project, leaving Britain, Denmark, and Malta as the only EU states not participating.

The 25 countries have also agreed on an initial list of 17 concrete projects to be undertaken under PESCO.

These projects are expected to be formally adopted in early 2018 and include the establishment of a European medical command and an information-sharing platform in response to cybernetic attacks and threats.