Formal go-ahead for closer defence cooperation in EU

The EU’s Foreign Affairs Council today officially decided to proceed with Permanent Structured Cooperation in defence (PESCO). The Netherlands is among the 25 EU member states taking part. Following this decision, 17 specific projects can be fleshed out in early 2018.

The Netherlands will participate in 7 of these 17 initial projects, including initiatives in the fields of logistics, medical capabilities, maritime demining, cyber security and radio communication.  
A good balance is being struck between short- and long-term projects. The long-term projects include the programme for modern maritime demining, which will provide better protection to ships, ports, offshore installations and maritime trading routes.

The Netherlands is playing a leading role in a plan for increased military mobility, one of the short-term projects, which should ensure that the EU can move military materiel and personnel more rapidly from place to place. Currently there are still too many obstacles, from red tape to infrastructure that is not equipped to carry heavy transports.
Foreign minister Halbe Zijlstra explained, ‘This kind of defence partnership should enable the EU to better ensure our own security.’