Blog AnalysisEU Defense (Doctrine)

Permanent structured cooperation: ouuh la la la! It is urgent to wait...

(BRUSSELS2) Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in defense matters, provided for by the Lisbon Treaty (1), will not be implemented immediately. Intended to give a certain consistency to States willing to move forward in European defense, in the wake of the Franco-British declaration of St Malo – a sort of hard core of European defense – this provision seems today today a little neglected and, above all, complicated to implement. What should she do? Who will be a member?

Complex, difficult, outdated? General Bentegeat, who chaired his last military committee on Wednesday, admitted this to the press when I asked him the question. “ It is a complex and difficult subject. There is no rush to put it in place right away. We must let the Spanish Presidency launch its own program now. I am not sure that this project can be applied in its originally planned form. Since 2001, a lot has changed. In particular, the European Defense Agency has been set up. »

The whole question is what tasks this cooperation could fulfill and above all – as the general explains “ what criteria should be adopted to determine which countries will be members ". " This should in no way be a process that leads to the exclusion of certain European states He adds.

In fact, in the corridors of the Council, while multiple decisions are being prepared, none concerns Permanent Structured Cooperation. No one seems very eager to commit to a new “thing”. We are expecting the following presidencies: Spanish, Belgian, even Polish (which has decided to make Defense Europe one of its priorities).

It is urgent to wait. It is true that the ESDP today, 10 years after its creation, already offers numerous possibilities for enhanced cooperation. In a fairly flexible way, everyone participates in operations (if they want to and with the means they want) or in industrial projects – via the European Defense Agency or ad hoc mechanisms… And these “à la carte” cooperations ” do not systematically group together the same Member States. Or even never. Certainly France or Belgium are involved in almost all ESDP actions. But it is not a rule, and it is not enough to constitute a consistent core for Permanent Enhanced Cooperation. And this leads to the exclusion of some. So… it is urgent to wait.

NB: Which, incidentally, is not entirely in line with the Lisbon Treaty which provides for the entry into force of the CSP “upon entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty".

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) This new system is established in Article 42 of the new Treaty in a rather laconic manner: “Member States which meet higher criteria of military capabilities and which have subscribed to more binding commitments in this area with a view to the most demanding missions, establish permanent structured cooperation within the framework of the Union » The modalities for triggering enhanced cooperation are detailed in Article 46 and in a protocol (protocol no. 10)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

Comments closed.