EU Defence Policy

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 1st December 2017.

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Photo of Alex Sobel Alex Sobel Labour/Co-operative, Leeds North West

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what relationship the Government plans to have with the EU's Permanent Structured Cooperation, known as PESCO, after leaving the EU.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

The aim of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) is to strengthen EU Member States' cooperation in military matters. PESCO is voluntary and works on an opt-in basis.

The UK Government has not committed to PESCO but supports its ambition to develop military capabilities that address the shortfalls in EU and NATO contexts. We welcome PESCO as a tool to support the development of capabilities that Europe needs for its security, provided it remains complementary to NATO and encourages EU-NATO cooperation; and that projects carried out under PESCO remain Member State-owned and the capabilities delivered are available not only to the EU but can also be used in support of NATO and UN operations.

There are no associated working groups but UK officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence have attended PESCO workshops at both the technical and policy level.

We are encouraging Member States to develop PESCO to be open to third country participation where there is clear value in doing so.

Our vision is of a unique third country partnership that enables unprecedented levels of practical cooperation in tackling common threats building on our shared values and interests. We believe that PESCO must be designed in a way that promotes an open and competitive European Defence industry.

Our approach reflects our commitment to European defence and security, and protecting the interests of UK industry.

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