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EU continues to strengthen defence capability

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EU continues to strengthen defence capability

Federica Mogherini - Photo EU Council

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Council underlined its desire to enhance its strategic autonomy and capacity to act as security provider Monday, agreeing a number of projects under its PESCO defence cooperation programme.

There will be 17 new projects in addition to an initial 17 projects agreed in 2017. The projects cover areas such as training, capability development and operational readiness on land, at sea and in the air, as well as cyber-defence.

The Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), established 11 December 2017, enables EU member states to work more closely together in the area of security and defence. It allows willing and able member states to develop jointly defence capabilities, invest in shared projects, and enhance the operational readiness and contribution of their armed forces.

At their meeting, foreign and defence ministers discussed EU cooperation in security and defence. They reviewed the implementation of the EU Global Strategy in this area, including PESCO, the coordinated annual review on defence (CARD), the European defence fund, military mobility, the military planning and conduct capability (MPCC), the civilian CSDP compact and the proposal for a European Peace Facility.

The Council adopted its position (partial general approach) on the European Defence Fund, which aims to strengthen the global competitiveness and innovation capacity of the EU defence technological and industrial base.

The Fund will provide €4.1 billion to directly finance competitive and collaborative research projects, in particular through grants. Beyond the research phase, €8.9 billion will be available to complement Member States' investments in defence products by co-financing the costs for prototype development and the certification and testing phases.

In its 'partial general approach', the Council confirmed the overall objectives and structure of the Fund, including the intention to invest in disruptive technologies. It mostly seeks to clarify a number of aspects in regards to the eligibility of entities, and ownership of the results. It also seeks to clarify the award procedures and criteria and the provisions concerning the share of the indirect costs that will be covered by the Fund, the latter being an important element to make the Fund more attractive for industry players. The Council further stresses that special attention will be paid to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps in the Union.

The Council has also welcomed agreement on the establishment of a civilian CSDP compact, marking an ambitious commitment to strengthen civilian CSDP and make it more capable, more effective and responsive, and more joined-up in today's changed security environment;

Read the full text of the conclusions

Updated overview of the collaborative PESCO projects (table)

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