Report on PESCO: No member state can protect itself alone 

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  • Stronger focus on joint European defence needed 
  • Call for a more ambitious EU budget to strengthen defence capabilities  

MEPs call on member states not to reduce their defence spending in the coming years, especially their financial involvement in European cooperative projects.

Member states participating in Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) projects should be encouraged to evolve from a strictly national focus on defence to a stronger European one and prioritise using a more European collaborative approach, warned MEPs on the Committee on Foreign Affairs.


In their recommendation to the Council and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, adopted by 49 votes in favour, 12 against and 7 abstentions, MEPs stress that no member state can protect itself alone against the common multifaceted threats that the EU faces in its security and defence today.


An effective EU system for efficient, coherent, strategic and joint use of resources would be advantageous for the EU’s overall level of security and defence and is necessary, more than ever, in a security environment that is quickly deteriorating, point out MEPs.

They warn that member states should not reduce their defence spending in the coming years, and especially their financial involvement in European cooperative projects. There should be more ambition in the EU budget to strengthen defence capabilities, they say, by sufficiently financing the future European Defence Fund (EDF) and the military mobility project in the upcoming Multiannual Financial Framework.


MEPS note that several of the 47 PESCO projects, if funded accordingly, could strengthen member states’ preparedness, should another massive public health crisis occur. They also stress that, in order to better counter the hybrid threats, increasing efforts to cooperate on cyber defence are needed, such as information sharing, training and operational support.


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The rapporteur Radosław Sikorski (EPP, PL) said:” It is not only crucial to continue investing in the development of defence and security capabilities to protect our citizens, it is also crucial to act jointly to maximise the effectiveness of defence spending and reduce duplications. The cost of non-Europe in security and defence is estimated to be of billions of euro per year. We need to finally activate a Treaty based common EU defence policy. It costs less.”


Background

PESCO is a Treaty-based framework and process to deepen defence cooperation amongst EU member states by jointly developing defence capabilities and making them available for EU military operations. The decision to participate is voluntary and currently PESCO projects are dependent on the 25 participating member states’ financial contributions. At the moment, there are 47 PESCO projects, in various domains from joint training to cooperation in the area of maritime or cyber security, or air systems.