The European Council has adopted the decision to establish a European Union defense pact, known as PESCO. The 25 participating EU states are set to begin working on a series of joint-defense projects next year.
The Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), which was first set out in the Lisbon Treaty, will allow member states to jointly develop military capabilities, invest in shared projects and enhance their respective armed forces.
On December 7, Portugal and Ireland announced their decision to join, taking the total number of contributing members up to 25. The countries that have chosen not to take part are Malta, Denmark – which has special opt-out status – and the UK (which is set to withdraw from the bloc in March 2019).
Officials have earmarked 17 joint projects that will fall under the scope of the PESCO agreement. These include establishing a pan-European military training center, improving capability development and even introducing common standards for military radio communication.