. At a meeting in Brussels, foreign and defense ministers approved 17 new projects for permanent structured cooperation (Pesco). Among them are those for the development of new weapons systems and the establishment of a training facility for secret agents.
Among other things, Germany participates in a project to promote the joint use of military bases. In addition, the development of the Euro Drone and the new Combat Helicopter Tiger Mark III, supported by the Federal Republic of Germany, will become so-called pesco projects.
„There are steps on the way to an army of Europeans,“ said Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen. In addition, Europe must also be faster in the decision-making.
Pesco was launched last year to move closer to the goal of a common defense union. The aim is also to make the EU more flexible and independent of the United States.
Pool of 200 police officers, lawyers and experts will be set up
In addition to the 17 new Pesco projects, the defense ministers also decided to expand their command center for joint military operations. In the future, she will not only be in charge of training assignments such as those in Mali or Somalia, but also on more extensive missions. These could be, for example, such as the ongoing Mediterranean operation to combat smuggling.
It was also agreed to increase the operational readiness of EU Civilian Crisis Management personnel. For this purpose, a pool of 200 police officers, lawyers and other experts will be established. These should be ready for use within 30 days.
For example, EU experts are currently working as observers to safeguard truces in Georgia or to help build the rule of law in Kosovo. For example, completed missions include the training of police officers in Afghanistan.
European crisis center in Berlin
Germany wants to make sure that civilian crisis prevention is „just as important a part“ of the common security and defense policy as the Pesco, said Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Brussels.
Therefore, the Federal Republic has also agreed to set up a center for the training of civilian experts for crisis operations for the EU. Experts should then make a contribution on the ground that crises do not become major conflicts, Maas said. Location for the „European Crisis Prevention Center“ should be Berlin.
Not involved in Pesco are only Denmark, Great Britain and Malta. Denmark does not traditionally participate in the common European security and defense policy, Britain wants to leave the EU next spring. Obviously, Malta did not want to meet the eligibility criteria, which include a regular increase in defense expenditure.