The European Union has taken a major step toward developing the capacity to wage war in the future independently of and, if necessary, against the United States.
Foreign and defence ministers from 23 of the 28 EU member states signed a framework document on a common defence policy in Brussels on Monday. Along with Britain, which will leave the EU in 2019, only four smaller countries—Denmark, Ireland, Malta and Portugal—did not sign on to the deal. However, they can do so at any time.
With the “agreement on permanent structured cooperation” (PESCO), the EU states committed themselves to close cooperation in the development and purchase of weapons, and in making available troops and equipment for joint military interventions.
“PESCO is an ambitious, binding and inclusive European legal framework for investment in the security and defence of the EU’s territory and citizens,” the document states. The key issue is to make Europe more efficient, capable of acting and quicker, said a representative of the German defence ministry.
The agreement signifies an escalation of European militarism. The first of 20 conditions to which all parties must commit is a regular increase in military spending. At least 20 percent of this must be directed to the purchase of new weapons. For its part, the EU intends to contribute €500 million annually and €1 billion after 2021 to joint arms projects.
Details concerning the form of cooperation will be worked out over the coming weeks. There are currently 47 proposals for joint projects.