The pact is backed by a 5.8 billion-dollar fund for buying weapons plus extra cash for operations and defense research.Leaders hailed the agreement as a historic milestone for the European Union.
Something that just one year ago, most of us and most of the rest of the world considered impossible to achieve.
Supporters say the pact will end the kind of shortcomings seen in the 2011 intervention in Libya when European allies relied on the United States for airpower and munitions.Three years later, Russia’s invasion of Crimea persuaded many European leaders of the need for closer defense.There’s a window of opportunity now that they have ceased on led by predominantly Germany and France.
A window of opportunity that has opened thanks to political forces further afield for most among them the election of Donald Trump as US president.On the campaign trail, he called NATO obsolete.Although he has since offered support for the alliance, doubts linger in Brussels.
The strong sense in Europe that America will no longer be there to rescue them and that they have to get serious that they have to grow up and defense themselves then secondly, we’ve had Brexit.The UK has always been critical of European defense integration efforts on the EU level.
Britain due to leave the EU in 2019 has pledged to support the EU pact.We think there’s a lot of promise in the ideas and we will be backing them on.
PESCO(Permanent Structured Cooperation) aims to increase European security cooperation below the level of collective defense which is covered by Article Five of NATO.NATO representatives are saying that they actually don’t see the risk of duplication, they don’t see the rest of redundancy.They do see the need for European countries to spend more on defense and bind more closely together there.
Analysts say Britain fears being squeezed out between NATO and the European Union.It may be able to join EU projects under the PESCO pact but only if it provides substantial funds and expertise.
Henry Ridgwell, for VOA News, London.