Daily Management Review

Europe is preparing an alternative to NATO


Within the next few days, more than half of the EU member states will publicly announce their intention to sign the European defense pact - the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the Financial Times reports. The project was initiated by France and Germany for a more effective mobilization of the armed forces, but does not imply abandonment of obligations within NATO.

More than half of the EU members will announce in the coming days that they will take part in the new defense project of a unified Europe - the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). This was reported on Tuesday by the London Financial Times, referring to the EU diplomats in Brussels. According to the newspaper, a formal announcement about the plans of the countries wishing to join PESCO will be held on November 13 at the meeting of the foreign and defense ministers of the EU member states. Germany and France will support their initiative since they have initiated this project. Formally, the project will be launched, according to the FT, at the EU summit in December this year. According to the sources of the newspaper, the project should be supported by at least two-thirds of the member states of the union.

Supporters of PESCO say that the project will be rather an addition, not an alternative to NATO, since it is NATO that will continue to bear the main responsibility for the security of Europe. Skeptics also point to obvious differences between Paris and Berlin regarding the prospects for the new pact. According to Tomáš Valášek, the head of Carnegie Europe, the current PESCO is already far from the Parisian idea with which it all began. "France wanted (to see) a small but highly effective group of countries that would unite around the French armed forces to carry out joint interventionist operations abroad under the EU mandate. Under pressure from Germany, PESCO has increased." Nevertheless, according to Mr. Valášek, even in this form the organization will be very important for the EU, even if the cooperation concerns joint production of arms.

Supporters of PESCO say that the launch of the project is all the more relevant in connection with the intensification of tension in Europe, the attitude of Washington to NATO and Brexit. However, the latter expressed readiness for cooperation with the EU in the field of defense and after March 2019. As the Financial Times notes, its details, as well as the possibility of participation of non-EU states in PESCO (which is important for Britain or Norway), are yet to be discussed.

source: ft.com