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European Union tees up new military-cooperation proposals

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The European Union will release a call for a new batch of proposals included in Europe’s new Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) initiative this week.

As well, officials said that the 34 existing PESCO projects are still regarded as at a very initial “incubation phase,” which means they have yet to visit fruition.

The PESCO defense pact – a show of unity and a tangible step in EU integration – was set up in December 2017 between EU governments and involved 2 phases of joint initiatives, each one containing seventeen projects.

EU members should take care of developing and implementing PESCO projects. An EU defense source said, “They are still at an initial stage, or incubation phase.”

The 34 schemes consist of a harbor and maritime surveillance and protection ( HARMSPRO ) project, built to deliver a new maritime capability with the ability to conduct surveillance and security of specified maritime areas, from harbors up to littoral waters.

Other projects involve building new equipment, for example, infantry fighting vehicles, amphibious assault vehicles, light armored vehicles, indirect fire assistance, strategic command-and-control systems for EU defense missions, minesweeping drones, improving maritime surveillance and growing a joint secure software defined radio.

Long blocked by London, PESCO, is one of the most tangible steps in EU integration since Britons has chosen to leave the bloc, as militaries start to plan, spend and deploy together.

The eventual aim of PESCO is to improve and deploy forces together, supported by a multi-billion-euro fund for defense research and development. The idea seeks to bring together European countries with a military capacity and political wish to collaborate on planning, carry out joint analyses of emerging crises and to react to them quickly.

New benefits include taking off and landing in rough terrain, through a series of “tactical” features remains to be realized.

EU defense expert Paul Taylor wrote, “It is worth noting that the PESCO effort is still at a relatively early stage of development.”

Jamie Shea, a senior fellow at Friends of Europe, a leading Brussels think tank, commented, “It is welcome news that the number of PESCO projects is likely soon to grow still further beyond the current 34. But to sustain political and public interest in this initiative it is important that we see soon the first deliverables to show that the good intentions are being followed with real and new European military capabilities.”

Shea included, “Moreover the key test for the success of PESCO will not just be to generate more multinational efforts but also to produce capabilities that plug the current shortfalls in the EU’s most urgent requirements and move it towards its goal of strategic autonomy.”

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