Blog AnalysisEU Defense (Doctrine)

Permanent Structured Cooperation is gaining momentum. Selected projects

The list that will be approved by the Member States should not include any major industrial project such as the A400M, but does include a few useful operational and capability projects (credit: DICOD / EMA - B2 Archives - the arrival of the 12th A400M baptized by the fire hoses of the BA of Orleans)

(B2 - EXCLUSIVE) On December 11, between 23 and 25 governments of the European Union (1) should put their signatures at the bottom of a decision intended to launch the "Permanent Structured Cooperation" (CSP or PESCO for short). In other words, “the European Security and Defense Union” (2).

This essentially political act – a closer union in defense matters with a commitment to do more – will be accompanied by the launch of some fifteen capability or operational projects, aimed at strengthening the capacity of European countries to act in a coordinated (either within the EU, within NATO, or multinational).

An interesting list...

B2 has obtained, in preview, the list of these projects, which should be looked at carefully. We do not find there the current projects already launched in multinational (governmental satellite, in-flight tankers, MALE drone) or in binational (Franco-German combat aircraft, Belgian-Dutch naval cooperation or German-Dutch land cooperation). But, there are not - as one might fear - only projects "too techno" or of a reduced scale, which would undoubtedly not have made it possible to illustrate the "avant-garde" side of the PESCO .

Some operational reinforcements

Certainly it is not the revolution. And you really have to have a relatively twisted mind to see there the potential beginnings of the European army. But we can note in this list some particularly ambitious projects from an operational point of view: the European medical command - which could be for health services what EATC is for transport aviation - and the logistics hub (3) , the crisis response mechanism (CROC) or disaster relief support.

... a touch of partnership

One project is particularly emblematic of EU-NATO civil-military cooperation since it appears both on the list of PESCO projects and on the list adopted today of NATO-EU cooperation projects, and involves both the than the European institutions (Commission and European Defense Agency): military mobility or the creation of a military Schengen area. It involves, in fact, more regulatory, economic or political aspects than technical or military aspects (4).

...and a pinch of ability

In terms of capabilities, projects for armored vehicles, underwater drones or rapid reaction cyber teams can be particularly noted.

A list still to be adjusted

Note: the final names of the projects as well as the countries participating in all the projects have yet to be specified. Likewise, this list could be extended. In fact, it includes 19 projects, some of which (logistics and training in particular) are intended (or not) to be grouped together. The attached published list is taken from thearticle published in preview on the B2 Pro website

NB: An amended list was adopted by the experts from the Member States, read: PESCO will include 17 projects. The final list


(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Editor's note: In case of quotation or resumption partielle of this article, please reference B2 or Bruxelles2 + the internet link (compulsory for websites). Warning ! Any reproduction of this article that exceeds the right of quotation is prohibited without prior and express authorization.

(1) 23 Member States have already signed the joint notification, the Portuguese and Irish governments have indicated their intention to join this notification but they still have to obtain the agreement of their respective parliaments. In fact, all countries of the European Union except Denmark (due to its opt-out legal), the United Kingdom (because of Brexit) and Malta will thus have expressed their desire to be part of this "closer union" in terms of defence.

(2) As its initiators called it in the 2000s (read: Europe is capable of surprising us. Junker) and as it continues to be called (rightly) by various political leaders such as J.-.C. Juncker the current President of the European Commission, or Ursula von der Leyen (read: "We must put the cards on the table, think and act as Europeans" (Ursula von der Leyen).

(3) Two projects that were already included in the Franco-German letter signed in the summer of 2016 by the French (Jean-Yves Le Drian) and German (Ursula Von der Leyen) ministers

(4) On this point, read:

Updated: 7.12 on military mobility and the exact number of projects

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).