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European Union states sign key pact to boost defence cooperation

European Union states sign key pact to boost defence cooperation”

Poland has chose to join the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in the field of defense within the EU.

The European Union took a step towards closer defence ties yesterday, with 23 states signing a landmark pact aiming to boost cooperation after Brexit and as Russian Federation flexes its muscles to the east.

Twenty-three countries have declared they will participate in a new EU defense cooperation pact, part of a broader push to advance European integration, officials said Monday.

Ceremonial signing of the declaration at a Monday joint meeting of EU's foreign and defense ministers is the last formal step before PESCO's official launch during the EU's December summit. These include the establishment of an European Union defense headquarters for training missions in Somalia, Mali and Central African Republic, a pilot project to coordinate national budgets to identify capability shortfalls, and the new military pact.

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European Union officials have identified defense as an area where they have made progress on multiple fronts since Britain voted to leave. Britain - a nuclear power with permanent veto power at the UN Security Council - has always been fiercely opposed to anything that might lead to the creation of an "EU army" commanded by Brussels.

"Today we will launch a new page for the European Defence", said Frederica Mogherini, the EU's foreign and defence policy representative.

Those not living up to their commitments could be kicked out of the group.

This permanent framework for defence cooperation will allow those member states willing and able to jointly develop defence capabilities, invest in shared projects, or enhance the operational readiness and contribution of their armed forces.

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The agreement commits countries to "regularly increasing defence budgets in real terms" as well as devoting 20 per cent of defence spending to procurement and 2 per cent to research and technology. "The real problem is not how much we spend, it is the fact that we spend in a fragmented manner".

Mogherini said the move would complement NATO's security aims.

Gabriel said working together is "more economical than if everyone does the same".

The defence of Europe will not be strengthened by weakening the bond with the United States or competing with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

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