COMMENTARY / Jairo Císcar
Since the end of the Second World War, collective security on the European continent and with it, peace, has been a priority. The founding fathers of the European Union themselves, aware of the tensions that resulted from the First and Second World Wars, devised and created security structures to prevent future conflicts and strengthen relations between former enemies. The first structure, although not purely military, obeys this logic: the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), essential for the creation and maintenance of industry and armies, was created by the Treaty of Paris in 1951, introducing a concept as widely used today as “energy security”. This was arguably the first major step towards effective integration of European countries.
However, for the issue at hand, the path has been much more complicated. In the same period in which the ECSC was born, French Prime Minister René Pleven, with the encouragement of Robert Schuman and Jean Monet, wanted to promote the European Defence Community. This ambitious plan aimed to merge the armed forces of the six founding countries (including the Federal Republic of Germany) into a European Armed Forces that would keep the continent together and prevent the possibility of a new conflict between states. Ambitious as it was, the project failed in 1954, when the deeply nationalist Gaullist deputies of the French National Assembly refused to ratify the agreement. European integration at the military level thus suffered a setback from which it would not begin to recover until the present century, although it continues to face many of the reluctances it once did.
Why did the European Defence Community fail, and what makes the European Armed Forces still a difficult debate today? This is a question that needs to be analysed and understood, for while political and economic integration has advanced with a large consensus, the military problem, which should go hand in hand with the two previous issues, has always been the Achilles' tendon of the common European project.
There are basically two factors to take into account. The first is the existence of a larger defence community, NATO. Since 1948, NATO has been the principal military alliance of Western countries. Born to counter Soviet expansionism, the Alliance has evolved in size and objectives to its current configuration of 30 member states and a multitude of other states in the form of strategic alliances. Although NATO's primary purpose was diluted after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it has evolved with the times, remaining alert and operational all around the globe. The existence of this common, powerful and ambitious project under U.S. leadership largely obscured efforts and intentions to create a common European defence project. Why create one, overlapping, structure if the objectives were practically the same and NATO guaranteed greater logistical, military superiority and a nuclear arsenal? For decades, this has been the major argument against further European integration in the field of defence - as protection was secured but delegated.
Another issue was the nationalism still prevalent among European states, especially in the aforementioned Gaullist France. Even today, with an ongoing and deep political, economic and, at a certain level, judicial integration, military affairs are still often seen as the last bastion of national sovereignty. In Schengen Europe, they remain for many the guarantee of those borders that fell long ago.
Other issues to take into account are the progressive detachment of the population from the armed forces (a Europe that has not seen war on its own territory in 70 years, except for the Balkans, has tended to settle into peace, nearly oblivious to wars) and its progressive ageing, with a future with fewer people of military age, and who, as we have mentioned, often have an ideological and motivational gap with previous generations with respect to the concept and utility of the military.
It was not until relatively recently, with the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999, that the embryonic mechanisms of the current Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), supervised by the European Defence Agency, began to be implemented. In the 2010s, with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, these mechanisms were established. The Military Staff of the European Union (EUMS) is one of them. It constitutes the EU's first permanent strategic headquarters. The final impetus came in 2015, with the European Union Global Strategy. This led to the creation of various far-reaching initiatives, most notably the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), which since 2017 has been pursuing the structural integration of the Armed Forces of all EU countries except Denmark and Malta. It is not only limited to proper integration, but also leads capability development projects such as the EU Collaborative Warfare Capabilities (ECOWAR) or the Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA), as well as defence industry endeavors such as the MUSAS project, or the CYBER-C4ISR capabilities level.
Although it is too early to say for sure, Europe may be as close as it can get to René Pleven's distant dream. The EU's geopolitical situation is changing, and so is its own language and motivation. If we used to talk about Europe delegating its protection for years, now Emmanuel Macron advocates ‘strategic autonomy” for the EU. It should be recalled that just over a year ago he claimed that “NATO is brain-dead”. Some voices in the EU’s political arena claim and have realised that it can no longer delegate the European protection and defence of its interests, and they are starting to take steps towards doing so. Despite these advances, it is true that is not a shared interest, at least, as a whole. France and other Mediterranean member states are pushing towards it, but those in the East, as Poland or Latvia, are far more concerned about the rise of Russia, and are comfortable enough for U.S. troops to be established in their terrain.
Having said that, I truly believe that the advantages of the European Armed Forces project outweigh its negative aspects. First of all, a Europe united in defence policies would not imply the disappearance of NATO, or the breaking of agreements with third countries. In fact, these alliances could even be strengthened and fully adapted to the 21st century and to the war of the future. As an example, in 2018 the EU and NATO signed collaboration agreements on issues such as cybersecurity, defence industry and military mobility.
While NATO works, Europe is now facing a dissociation between U.S. interests and those of the other Allies, especially the European ones. In particular, countries such as France, Spain and Italy are shifting their defence policies from the Middle East, or the current peace process in Afghanistan (which, despite 20 years of war, sounds like a long way off), to sub-Saharan Africa (Operation “Barkhane” or EUTM Mali), a much closer region with a greater impact on the lives of the European citizens. This does not detract from the fact that NATO faces global terrorism in a new era that is set to surpass asymmetric warfare and other 4th generation wars: the era of hybrid warfare. Russia's military build-up on the EU's eastern flank and China's penetration into Africa do not invite a loosening of ties with the United States, but European countries need to prioritise their own threats over those of the U.S., although it is true that the needs of countries to the west of the EU are not the same as those to the east. This could be the main stumbling block for a joint European Army, as weighting the different strategic priorities could be really arduous.
It is true that this idea of differing policies is not shared in the EU as a whole. Countries such as Poland, those in the Balkans or the Baltic have different approaches and necessities when talking about a European Union common security strategy. The EU is a 27 country-wide body that often is extremely difficult to navigate within. Consensus is only reached after very long discussions (see the soap opera on the COVID relief package negotiations), and being defence as important as it is, and in need of fast, executive decision making, the intricate bureaucracy of the EU could not help with it. But if well managed, it could be an opportunity to develop new strategies for decision-making and reforming the European system as a whole, fostering a new, more effective Europe.
Another debate, probably outdated, is the one who claims that the EU is not capable of planning, organising and conducting operations outside the NATO umbrella. In this case, apart from the aforementioned guidelines and policies, one simply has to look at the facts: the EU today leads six active (and 18 completed) military missions with close to 5,000 troops deployed. The “Althea” (Bosnia & Herzegovina) and “Atalanta” (in the Indian Ocean) missions are particularly noteworthy. It is true that these examples are of low-intensity conflicts but, given the combat experience of EU nations under NATO or in other missions (French and Portuguese in Africa, etc.) combat-pace could be quickly achieved. The NATO certification system under which most European armed forces operate guarantees standardisation in tactics, logistics and procedures, so that standardisation at the European level would be extremely simple if existing models are taken into account.
Another issue is the question of whether the EU could politically and economically engage in a long, high-intensity operation without getting drowned by the public opinion, financial administration, and, obviously, with the planning and carrying out of a whole campaign. This is one of the other main problems with future European armed forces because, as mentioned earlier, Europeans are not prepared in any way to be confronted with the reality of a situation of war. What rules of engagement will be used? How to cope with casualties? And even more, how to create an effective chain of command and control among 27 countries? And what will happen if one does not agree with a particular intervention or action? How could it be argued that the EU, world’s leading beacon of human rights, democracy and peace, gets engaged in a war? Undoubtedly, these questions have rational and objective answers, but in an era of social media, populism, empty discourses, and fake news, it would be difficult to engage with the public (and voters) to support the idea.
Having said that, there is room for optimism. Another reason pointing towards Europe's armed forces is the collaboration that exists at the military industrial level. PESCO and the European Defence Fund encourage this, and projects such as the FCAS and EURODRONE lay the foundations for the future of European armed forces capabilities. It should not be forgotten that the European defence industry is the world leader behind that of the United States and is an increasingly tough competitor for the latter.
In addition, the use of military forces in European countries during the current coronavirus pandemic has served to reinforce the message of their utility and need for collaboration beyond the purely military. While the militarisation of emergencies must be avoided and the soldier must not be reduced to a mere “Swiss army knife” at disposition of the government trying to make up their own lack of planning or capacity to deal with the situation, it has brought the military closer to the streets, and to some extent may have helped to counteract the disaffection with the armed forces that exists in many European countries (due to the factors mentioned above).
Finally, I believe that European-level integration of the armed forces will not be merely beneficial, but necessary for Europe. If the EU wants to maintain its diplomacy, its economic power, it needs its own strategic project, an “area of control” over its interests and, above all, military independence. This does not preclude maintaining and promoting the alliances already created, but this is a unique and necessary opportunity to fully establish the common European project. The political and economic framework cannot be completed without the military one; and the military one cannot function without the former. All that remains is to look at the direction the EU is taking and hope that it will be realised. It is more than possible and doable, and the reality is that work is being done towards it.
▲ Black Blade 2016, under the EU’s Helicopter Exercise Programme [European Defence Agency, Fisher Maximilian]
ESSAY / Albert Vidal
The purpose of this paper is to project a potential scenario in the European Union (EU) security and defence field around 2030. The European Commission has already developed a three-legged projection (Mogherini & Katainen, 2017), which presents alternative scenarios, the accomplishment of which will depend on the decisions the European Union and its member states take from now on. Thus, as it makes no sense to describe again the three scenarios, I will be focusing on the most ambitious one: a common security and defence.
To do so, I will begin by briefly depicting where we are today, in terms of EU security and defence. Afterwards, I will introduce the core ideas outlined in the Reflection Paper and develop the 3rd scenario. A variety of issues which include funding, industry capabilities and intelligence, among others, will be tackled.
EU Security and Defence in 2019
As of 2019, the security and defence policies of the EU are embedded in the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) which, although having the astronomical combined budget of more than $220 billion in 2016 (How much is spent on defence in the EU?, 2018), it is far from being the military superpower it ought to be. It is true that the EU Global Strategy provides some guidelines for the development of EU’s policies, but for now it is just a vision and hasn’t yet had the time to deliver tangible results. The Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), on the other hand, offers the potential to work toward the achievement of those goals.
Meanwhile, we can appreciate a costly fragmentation of resources which is embodied in the multiplicity of weapons systems in the EU (up to 178) compared to the US, which has around 30 (Munich Security Report 2017, 2017). Duplication is quite pricey: since every EU Member State has to acquire a little bit of everything to cover its wide range of military necessities, we end up having repeated and useless systems and a lot of money is consequently wasted. The lack of interoperability between different European armies complicates the deployments even more and brings equipment shortages. This gives a strong explanation to why less than 3% of European troops are actually deployed (Defending Europe Factsheet, 2017). Besides, the inexistence of a large fund for military operations and research in technology has hindered the development of European-made equipment and has also prevented large-scale operations. If the member states want to launch a military mission, they need to resort to different sources of funding, such as the Athena Mechanism, the African Peace Facility, the Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace and several Trust Funds, which causes confusion and a loss of efficiency. The aforementioned examples are not thought to be exhaustive; they are just some examples of today’s chaos in the field of security and defence in the EU.
How ambitious is the EU?
The ‘Reflection Paper on the Future of European Defence’ presents three scenarios of incremental cooperation among the EU member states, with each projection having its own principles and reach (Mogherini & Katainen, 2017).
Scenario A is characterized by the lowest degree of cooperation, which would remain voluntary and member states wouldn’t be bound to a common security and defence. The EU would only be able to deploy civilian missions and small-scale military operations; and its defence industry would remain largely fragmented.
Scenario B depicts an EU defence policy with stronger financial resources and a greater ability to project its military power. Duplication would be reduced and cooperation with NATO would increase.
Scenario C is by far the most interesting one, where a real common security and defence policy would be developed, and it would effectively balance the contributions and competencies among the member states (Bierman, 2018). Such will be the main object of analysis of the present paper.
Being this section my contribution to the conversation, I hope to be creative enough without falling into vagueness and imprecision.
a) In regards to the structure, the CSDP will remain as a part of the Foreign Affairs Configuration within the Council of the EU and will evolve into the communitarian decision-making-style; that is, intergovernmental decision making (which requires consensus) will become democratic (only requires majority). This inflection point will accelerate development of this field, since consensus will no longer be necessary. In regards to the material capabilities, national armies will begin their transition toward a unified European army. Right now, this may seem crazy. But Europe has taken similar steps before in other areas; and even if states have lost their national decision-making power on economic issues, no big disaster has happened.
Although member states are now fearful of transferring defence competences to the Union, I believe this will eventually occur. Many worry because member states will be losing sovereignty and control of their own army, and they will be at the mercy of the EU’s will. The problem is that defence is a very dear issue to states and there will be little progress toward efficiency and interoperability unless the EU takes complete control. Europe needs to continue advancing in its integration project to face increasingly challenging crisis; staying still will be synonymous with collapse.
b) Funding will be unified under a single European defence fund that will have a dual purpose. Firstly, it will be devoted to research and development; secondly, it will finance all kinds of operations and cover its costs, be it civilian or military ones (a similar idea to the European Peace Facility). Existing funds such as the Athena Mechanism or the APF would obviously disappear. Ideally, all EU member states would devote the equivalent of a 0.4% of the GDP to such fund, which would account for more than $75 billion.
c) Apart from that, EU member states should spend a minimum of 1.1% of their GDP in defence, which accounted for $206 billion in 2018. A superior body will coordinate the efforts to ensure that duplication doesn’t take place, and that all materials that are produced, acquired and used are interoperable. Thus, member states will have to follow certain guidelines when investing their resources. If we want to avoid having too many radar stations or minesweepers, the superior body will draft a list with the quotas that each unit, vehicle or system will have and will distribute it among the member states. It will probably be the case that only certain countries will be spending on aircraft carriers, but that won’t mean that such carrier belongs to the country that built it. The novelty is that all the equipment and units will be controlled by a unified European Command Center. Defence will be a policy concerning the community of member states.
d) The multiplicity of systems will be drastically reduced and the EU will only produce a small amount of tanks, battleships and aircrafts models. Such specialization and the optimized production will lower the costs of manufacture. This will bring competition among the different actors in the defence industry, which will definitely produce higher quality technology and equipment. The EU could enhance its cooperation with the industries by inviting such companies to the military exercises; so that they can see which gaps do they have and develop innovative ideas.
e) Relations with external actors will change profoundly. As the national external action will be subsumed under the CFSP, the EU will have an even stronger negotiating power when facing foreign threats, such as Russia. Its relationship with NATO will become awkward, since the EU will have its own army capable of performing high-end operations and will be perfectly fitted to deter Russia. At the same time, the EU will be able to pursue a foreign policy that might not suit the interests of the US, so NATO might become a parallel corpus which, although awkwardly separated from the EU, will maintain its ties with it. In some cases, certain countries will find themselves belonging simultaneously to both NATO and the EU CSDP. What will happen is that EU member states may change their membership status to NATO partners.
f) Other improvements will include a readjustment of the training areas and the recruitment processes, which will be brought to an EU scale; this will in turn improve the integration among European soldiers, since they will train jointly from the beginning. Language barriers will be broken and cultural differences will be easily overcome.
g) Nuclear weapons will also be crucial to the future of the CSDP: although it may sound naive that France will give its sovereignty over nuclear weapons to the EU, it still is a possibility that we should not ignore. Maybe we could design a special mechanism on the usage of nuclear weapons by the EU, in which France would have a sort of veto. The UK, on its part, will not be included in the CSDP, and its nuclear weapons and conventional capabilities will continue under their sovereignty.
h) An emphasis will be put on cyber security, Artificial Intelligence systems, quantum technology, laser weapons and autonomous weapons. This is too wide of a topic to be developed here, but what is certain is the need to invest extensively in research. Once all funds come together, research labs and facilities should also start collaborating between them, and this should improve the return on investments.
i) A redesigned Battle Group (BG) concept will impact the way the EU understands its security. Since conflicts after the Cold War have tended to be very localized and asymmetric, it makes little sense to have only such big and numerous forces prepared for combat. What I propose is to create smaller high-readiness special operations forces, which can be deployed in less than 3 days, instead of the 15 days that it takes for Battle Groups. Again, smaller units with cyber support and advanced technology will be a lot more efficient, silent and precise. War is evolving, the EU should as well.
j) Africa will change a lot in the coming years. Right now it is the EU’s primary foreign policy concern and it will probably continue to be in 2030. The EU has realized how dangerous another major crisis in Northern Africa might be, because if mixed with the massive population growth and poverty it may provoke colossal migration waves, as we have never seen. To avoid it, the EU should ideally adopt a double-pronged strategy: on the one hand, it should focus on the development of the region. On the other hand, it should address one and for all the chaos present in certain Northern African countries. I am aware of how complex this is, since regional factions, terrorists and liberation groups are often mixed up. Training the police forces through capacity-building missions and strengthening the judicial system and other governmental institutions is a needed step, which should be followed by more development-focused approaches.
I have laid out in this paper where we are today in terms of EU Security and Defence, and I have then further developed the ideas proposed by the 3rd scenario of the Reflection Paper, the most ambitious one. But, what is the utility of projecting such scenario? Well, the EU is facing today multiple challenges that range from terrorism, to migration and a potential internal disintegration. Brexit means that the strongest European army is leaving and the EU now needs to rethink itself. This is a critical point for the future of Europe: crisis means a crucial time in which a decisive change is impending. We need to think extreme during onerous times and consider proposals that would have otherwise remained in the shade.
 The ‘Reflection Paper on the Future of European Defence’ sets the different scenarios for moving towards a security and defense union
 USD $220 billion is the aggregate amount that all countries participating in the CSDP spend in defense
 The European Union Global Strategy was adopted on 28 June 2016
 Interoperability is defined as the intellectual capacity of military professionals to come together in one formation, face one common problem and try to develop solutions for it. Its biggest challenges are logistics, communication systems and a common understanding of what ‘interoperability’ actually means (Piatt & Leed, 2014). Today, the lack of interoperability creates an opportunity cost of $27 billion a year (Europe is starting to get serious about defence, 2017)
 CSDP will continue to be subsumed to the Common Foreign Security Policy (CFSP). As part of Scenario C, I also envisage the community asserting its rule over the CFSP But this is a different topic that we will not tackle here
 The legal restrictions on financing military activities from the EU’s budget would disappear
 According to the GDP in 2018; in 2030 it will probably be a bigger amount.
 According to the European Parliament, joining up the EU defense market would save $27 billion a year (Europe is starting to get serious about defence, 2017).
 Another proposal is an EU military conscription, which would diminish the costs greatly
 Given that we are projecting Scenario C, we are aiming for a coherent CSDP
 Battle Groups would then be used as back-up forces for longer and bigger operations
Bierman, B. (2018). A Critical Analysis of the Future of the EU’s CFSDP. Global Affairs & Strategic Studies. Retrieved March 1, 2019, from
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How much is spent on defence in the EU? (2018). Retrieved from
Mogherini, F., & Katainen, J. (2017). Reflection Paper on the Future of European Defence. Brussels. Retrieved from
Munich Security Report 2017. (2017). Munich. Retrieved from
Piatt, W., & Leed, M. (2014). The Future of European Collective Defense. Washington DC: Center for Strategic & International Studies. Retrieved from
El nuevo programa de cooperación de la UE deberá llevar a una mayor inversión en seguridad y defensa
Tras siete largos años de hibernación, el pasado 11 de diciembre se puso en marcha la Cooperación Estructurada Permanente (PESCO) de la Unión Europea, cuya misión es lograr una mayor convergencia en asuntos de seguridad y defensa. La iniciativa supone un salto hacia adelante en el proceso de integración europea, que viene a superar la etapa de estancamiento y dudas que trajo consigo la última crisis económica y financiera.
▲Soldados llevando la bandera de la Unión Europea frente a las instituciones comunitarias, en 2014 [Parlamento Europeo]
ARTÍCULO / Manuel Lamela Gallego
El mismo año en el que se conmemoraba el 60º aniversario de los Tratados de Roma finalizó con un cierto sentido de reivindicación y reafirmación por parte de la Unión Europea y sus Estados miembros, al conseguir contra todo pronóstico generar inversión y cooperación en las áreas de seguridad y defensa. La puesta en marcha de la Cooperación Estructurada Permanente (PESCO por sus siglas en inglés) es la respuesta a la urgente necesidad de inversión en estas dos áreas, necesidad que la UE tiene planteada desde hace décadas y que ni el fracaso en los Balcanes consiguió que fuera afrontada.
Hablamos de reafirmación frente a la evidente crisis que ha sufrido la Unión Europea en estos últimos años, en los que ha visto cómo se generaban dudas acerca de su propia continuidad. Pese a esta delicada situación, la UE ha actuado con una admirable flexibilidad y se ha planteado su propio rol en el escenario mundial con el objetivo poder seguir marcando una diferencia positiva en el mundo. En este contexto de reflexión y cambio es dónde debemos enmarcar la puesta en marcha de PESCO.
A esta reciente pérdida de credibilidad hay que sumarle la colección de “fracasos” que acumula la UE a la hora de generar una estrategia común de defensa. Las palabras de Javier Solana en 2003 al reconocer el fracaso y la fractura de la Unión en la gestión de la crisis de Irak generaron una sombra de impotencia e ineptitud que la UE no ha conseguido desprenderse hasta el momento. La aplicación de PESCO supone un gran destello de luz en la acción europea de cara al exterior, ya que pone de manifiesto la unidad dentro del proyecto europeo en un área tan delicada como es la seguridad y la defensa.
De esta manera y cumpliendo con lo que se establece en la Tratado de Lisboa, el pasado 13 de noviembre y tras varios meses de insistencia por parte del Consejo Europeo, 23 Estados miembros firmaron una notificación que supone el primer paso para la puesta en marcha de la Cooperación Estructurada Permanente. Este momento es declarado como “histórico” por parte de la Alta Representante de la Unión para Asuntos Exteriores y Política de Seguridad, Federica Mogherini. Sin ninguna duda nos encontramos ante un punto de inflexión dentro de la historia de la Unión Europea, pues tras varias décadas se consigue romper con la tendencia que reducía la cooperación europea al ámbito de la integración económica. PESCO aspira a sentar la base desde la cual, con proyectos verdaderamente vinculantes, se puedan generar estrategias comunes y compartidas que poco a poco vayan configurando a la nueva Europa de la seguridad y la defensa. En su medida, la Cooperación Estructurada Permanente se posiciona como en lo que su día fue la Comisión de la Comunidad Europea del Carbón y el Acero (CECA), cuya dimensión decisoria constituyó uno de los pilares para la expansión del supranacionalismo europeo hacia otras áreas más ambiciosas.
La base legal de PESCO la encontramos en los Artículos 42(6) y 46, junto con el Protocolo número 10, del Tratado de Lisboa (2009).
Artículo 42(6): “Los Estados miembros que cumplan criterios más elevados de capacidades militares y que hayan suscrito compromisos más vinculantes en la materia para realizar las misiones más exigentes establecerán una cooperación estructurada permanente en el marco de la Unión. Esta cooperación se regirá por el artículo 46 y no afectará a lo dispuesto en el artículo 43”.
Si algo se debe destacar de la Cooperación Estructurada Permanente es su naturaleza vinculante, por lo que los Estados se verán verdaderamente obligados a cumplir sus compromisos, como podemos observar en el Artículo 46(4): “Si un Estado miembro participante ya no cumple los criterios o ya no puede asumir los compromisos contemplados en los artículos 1 y 2 del Protocolo sobre la cooperación estructurada permanente, el Consejo podrá adoptar una decisión por la que se suspenda la participación de dicho Estado”.
La nula influencia que PESCO posee sobre la soberanía estatal es una de sus características fundamentales. Esto se ve claramente reflejado en los artículos 46(5) y 46(6) del Tratado de Lisboa. El primero clarifica los pasos que deberá seguir un Estado miembro para abandonar el proyecto: solamente será necesario que notifique al Consejo su abandono. El segundo trata de la toma de decisiones dentro de la Cooperación Estructurada Permanente: se tomarán de forma unánime, en una unanimidad constituida por los votos de los representantes de todos los Estados miembros que participen en PESCO.
Gasto del 2%
El 11 de diciembre el Consejo Europeo decidió finalmente poner en marcha PESCO, iniciativa a la que se sumaron Irlanda y Portugal, elevando el número de integrantes a 25 países. De esta manera se adoptaron los primeros 17 proyectos en los que los Estados participantes se comprometen a cooperar y que se adoptarán formalmente por el Consejo en 2018. Estos proyectos abarcarán diversos ámbitos dentro de la seguridad y la defensa europea, como pueden ser la formación de tropas o la estandarización y facilitación del transporte militar transfronterizo (este último altamente demandado por parte de la OTAN en los últimos años). Aparte de esta lista de proyectos cabe destacar el compromiso de los Estados de aumentar de forma constante y continuada los presupuestos de defensa en términos reales. Tras varios años de recesión económica y financiera en la mayoría de Estados europeos, los gastos en defensa no alcanzan el 2% del PIB acordado en la cumbre de la OTAN de Gales de 2014. Esta es sin duda una de las tareas más importantes que PESCO ha de cumplir para poder continuar con un desarrollo estable.
La iniciativa de la Cooperación Estructurada Permanente la tuvieron Francia, Alemania, España e Italia, lo que confirma el funcionamiento de la Europa de las dos velocidades, aunque finalmente al proyecto se ha sumado prácticamente la Unión en su conjunto, con las únicas ausencias de Malta, Dinamarca (que no participa en la defensa europea) y obviamente Reino Unido, que tiene pensada su salida para marzo de 2019. Habrá que ver si esta alta participación no pone en riesgo la ambición inicial del proyecto. Aunque la propia naturaleza de PESCO facilita la convivencia de las dos Europas siempre que se cumplan con los compromisos mínimos.
La fricción que PESCO y la OTAN puedan tener o la futura posición que Reino Unido detentará en la defensa europea tras su salida de la UE, son otros de los interrogantes que PESCO genera. Solo su puesta en marcha despejará esas incertidumbres. Dejando de lado estas dudas por un momento, lo que sí se puede afirmar es que la Cooperación Estructurada Permanente abre un amplio horizonte y que está exclusivamente en manos de los ciudadanos europeos poder aprovecharlo.
Como afirma el actual ministro francés de Economía y Finanzas, Bruno le Maire: “Europa no es una certeza, es un combate”.
Council of the EU. (11 de 12 de 2017). consilium.europa.eu. Obtenido de Cooperación en materia de defensa: Comunicado de prensa
Council of the European Union. (2017). Legislative acts and other instruments (PESCO), (pág. 20). Brussels.
European Union. (2009). Treaty of Lisbon. Lisbon, Portugal.
The Council and the High Representative of foreign affairs and security policy (2017). Notificaction on Permanent Structured Cooperation, (pág. 10).