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European Union launches new era in defense cooperation

European Union launches new era in defense cooperation

There are strong indications that British officials are pushing hard for the United Kingdom to be included in the Permanent Structured Cooperation process, or PESCO, which is key to the Defence Union plans set out by President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker recently.

The European Union took a step towards closer defence ties yesterday, with 23 states signing a landmark pact aiming to boost cooperation after Brexit and as Russian Federation flexes its muscles to the east.

Member states participating in PESCO will aim to simplify the transportation of military supplies and units within Europe, which is an important goal for Estonia.

"It's going to be quite a historic day for European defense", EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters before the meeting in Brussels at which ministers approved the plan.

"Today we will launch a new page for the European Defence", said Frederica Mogherini, the EU's foreign and defence policy representative.

Phokaides pointed out that the safer the European Union is, the safer Cyprus becomes as well, adding that when conditions are formed for a common defence, Cyprus will benefit and will have a greater protection and security against any threat.

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Those not living up to their commitments could be kicked out of the group.

PESCO obligates European Union member states to cooperate more and more systematically: increasing defense spending, making their units available for European Union operations, creating common military powers and strengthening the defense industry. By working together on joint projects, nations will be able to use their combined spending weight to purchase much needed capabilities like air transport or drones.

Estonian Defense Minister Jüri Luik said the main focus of the new initiative would be defense industries as "collective defense will always remain in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation".

Defence experts said the success of the new project would only be clear when Paris and Berlin resolved their competing visions for European-wide military cooperation.

The agreement commits countries to "regularly increasing defence budgets in real terms" as well as devoting 20 percent of defence spending to procurement and two percent on research and technology.