European Union takes step towards closer defence cooperation

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European Union takes step towards closer defence cooperation

The agreement envisions a Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO, which is meant to give the European Union a more coherent role in tackling worldwide crises, follows the announcement of a $6.4-billion European Defense Fund last June.

Led by France and Germany, the pact pledges 23 European Union member-states to a Common Defence Fund which will see them develop and deploy armed forces together, Reuters reports.

Membership of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) initiative will present an opportunity for Slovakia to bolster its defence capabilities, both for national purposes and in meeting its worldwide commitments, said Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) who signed an intention for Slovakia to join PESCO along with State Secretary for Foreign and European Affairs, Ivan Korčok, in Brussels on November 13.

The European Union has moved toward closer defense ties with more than 20 member states committing to deepen cooperation and improve coordination in the development of military hardware.

"I will expect the next Foreign Affairs Council to adopt this formal decision, so that we will be able to launch for the first time ever a European Defense Permanent Structured Cooperation with concrete projects, announced EU Foreign Policy Chief Frederica Mogherini".

"This is the beginning of a common work - 23 member states engaging both on capabilities and on operational steps, that's something big", Mogherini said. Britain can take part in some if they are of benefit to the entire EU.

He explained that PESCO's structure will be more on a defence level.

"It has clear outlines, so we're confident that it will garner significant support", said Gajdoš, who hopes to draw resources from the newly created European Defence Fund for its budgeting, with an eye towards cutting the financial onus that it will put on Bratislava.

U.S. President Donald Trump refused last month to certify that Iran is complying with its obligations under the nuclear accord, though worldwide inspectors said it is.

Member states participating in PESCO will aim to simplify the transportation of military supplies and units within Europe, which is an important goal for Estonia.

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