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Can EU’s PESCO Program Replace NATO?

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The Permanent Structured Security and Defense Cooperation Program (PESCO) will not be able to replace NATO. This was stated on Friday by the Secretary-General of the alliance Jens Stoltenberg at the Halifax Forum on International Security in Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada).

“I welcome the PESCO program because I want to strengthen the defense capability of Europe,” he said. The Secretary-General noted that this program could pose a threat to the North Atlantic alliance if it were to raise competition for it. “But it does not set such a goal. The European Union can not replace NATO as an organization that carries out collective security [of its members],” added Stoltenberg.

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On Monday, 23 EU countries signed an official letter to the EU Council and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – Federica Mogherini in which they notify their intention to join the new program on Permanent Structured Security and Defense Cooperation (PESCO)

PESCO Program

In an official letter, EU member states sent “a general notification to the Council and to the supreme representative, which includes a list of commitments indicating that they are willing and ready to meet the requirements of the Permanent Structured Defense Cooperation (PESCO).”

After signing the document, Mogherini noted that something happened, a year ago “it seemed impossible to all”, adding that other EU countries can join it. The next and final step in the launch of the program should be the relevant decision of the Council of the EU, the adoption of which is expected by the end of 2017.

As the Council of the EU explains, PESCO is a program to deepen military cooperation between EU member countries on a voluntary basis. Its goal is to jointly develop the defense capability, its accessibility to European military operations, decisions within its framework will be taken by the participating member countries. According to Mogherini, the EU countries have already prepared over 50 military projects for this program.

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