Keeping the momentum in European defence collaboration


This report from the UK think tank IISS makes an early assessment of PESCO implementation.

The Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) is a new initiative by the European Union, designed to facilitate and accelerate defence cooperation. Between March and November 2018, the 25 participating member states launched 34 projects, with the core aim of addressing the EU’s capability shortfalls. In May 2019, a call for a third round of project proposals will be launched. The IISS undertook an early assessment of how PESCO projects are carried out, to assess whether the momentum on the ground has continued since the projects were announced at the political level. A strong pace of implementation would require detailed timelines, deadlines and financial plans, as well as clear links with EU capability requirements. Questionnaires were sent to the projects’ countryleads, and were complemented by interviews and secondary-source research. We looked at various dimensions of implementation: timelines, financial commitments, stakeholder involvement and the projects’ relation to strategic autonomy. The results are mixed. While some projects are off to a strong start, there are common challenges for all.

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