Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in Defence formally launched and the European Defence and Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) officially adopted

In January 31, 2018

Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in Defence formally launched and the European Defence and Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) officially adopted






Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) is an instrument in the EU Treaty to enable willing Member States to pursue greater cooperation in defence and security. On 13 November, 23 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden) took a first step towards launching Permanent Structured Cooperation on defence by signing a joint notification and handing it over to High Representative Federica Mogherini. Since then, Ireland and Portugal have also joined, bringing the total number of participating countries to 25. The Council adopted in December 2017 a decision formally establishing PESCO. The 25 participating Member States also agreed a Declaration announcing the preparation of first collaborative projects in areas including the setting up of an EU medical command, military mobility, maritime surveillance, and cyber security.

While PESCO is purely intergovernmental, the European Defence Fund proposed by the European Commission in June will create incentives for Member States to cooperate on joint development and the acquisition of defence equipment and technology through co-financing from the EU budget and practical support from the Commission. This could include some of the projects presented by Member States in the framework of PESCO. Additionally, the Fund fully finances grants for collaborative research projects. On 7 June 2017, the first call for proposals on ‘Preparatory action on defence research’ was published.

The European Defence Fund, announced by President Juncker in September 2016 and launched in June 2017, will further boost collaborative projects in the area of defence research, prototype development and join acquisition of capabilities. As part of the European Defence Fund, the Commission presented a legislative proposal for a dedicated Defence and Industrial Development Programme, that the Member States formally accepted. Only collaborative projects will be eligible, and a proportion of the overall budget will be earmarked for projects involving cross-border participation of SMEs.

In summary, there are 3 main proposed measures.

Firstly, a European Defence Fund for collaborative research projects. And as a separate element, the joint development of defence capabilities, to be owned by EU countries in priority areas.

Secondly, supporting SMEs by fostering investments in defence supply chains.

Thirdly to ensure Europe has an open and competitive single market for defence.

These measures are designed to enhance Europe’s strategic autonomy and strengthen its ability to act with partners as well as stimulating jobs, growth and innovation across the EU.