European Defence projects – 34 PESCO projects selected in 2018

The Council for Foreign Affairs (Nov 19th) approved 17 new projects within the PESCO Framework.


What is PESCO ?

What are the projects?

What about third States’ participation ?

Definition of Pesco

PESCO is a Treaty-based framework and process to deepen defence cooperation amongst EU Member States who are capable and willing to do so. The aim is to jointly develop defence capabilities and make them available for EU military operations. This will thus enhance the EU’s capacity as an international security actor, contribute to the protection of EU citizens and maximise the effectiveness of defence spending.

The difference between PESCO and other forms of cooperation is the legally binding nature of the commitments undertaken by the participating Member States. The decision to participate was made voluntarily by each participating Member State, and decision-making will remain in the hands of the participating Member States in the Council.

PESCO projects: A Member State owned process

PESCO projects must have a clear European added value in addressing the Union’s capability and operational needs, in line with the EU Capability Development Priorities and CARD. The projects contribute to fulfilling the more binding commitments and achieving the EU Level of Ambition.

 In total, there are 34 PESCO projects in the areas of capability development and in the operational dimension range from:

  • the establishment of a European Medical Command
  • an EU Training Mission Competence Centre
  • Cyber Rapid Response Team
  • Mutual Assistance in Cyber Security
  • Military Disaster Relief
  • An upgrade of Maritime Surveillance
  • the creation of an European Military Space Surveillance Awareness Network
  • the creation of a joint EU Intelligence School – this school for spy had a lot of success in the media
  • specialised Helicopter Training

You can find here the final list.


France and Italy are active Members in PESCO Projects since they are both leaders on 7 projects (France is the leader of the European Attack Helicopters TIGER Mark III project) and participate into 15 other projects whereas Germany is only leader on 6 projects like the Eurodrone.

The terms for the participation non-EU countries are delayed

The EU was meant to announce the terms for non-EU countries to take part in PESCO projects. The decision on the US and UK’s future participation as a third country has now been pushed to December at the earliest but it could be more likely next year.

We all indicated that there is a political will to find consensus on this by the European Council in December – hopefully” Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission

The Polish defence minister Mariusz Błaszczak stressed that PESCO should be open to non-EU countries:

“I am thinking primarily of the United States, Norway, but also Great Britain after leaving the EU”.

For now, it is first up to members of individual projects to consider inviting a third State that meets the general conditions (added-value, etc.). The Council will decide whether a third State meets these requirements. Following a positive decision, the project may then enter into administrative arrangement with the concerned third State, in line with procedures and decision-making autonomy of the Union.

For more information –A dedicated PESCO website is available here


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