Nato’s PESCO rib is born

After a 60 year gestation period, Roberta Pinotti, the Defense Minister announces that “PESCO” is on the verge of being born in December.

– Manlio Dinucci

PESCO is a EU “Permanent Structured Cooperation” in the military sector. To start with, 23 of the 27 EU member states are participating in it.

Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s Secretary General, explains what this cooperation might entail. Participating in the EU’s Council for Foreign Affairs, he emphasizes, “the importance, evidenced by so many European leaders, of European Defense needing to be developed so that it does not compete with Nato, but rather complements it”.

The first way of achieving this is for each European member state to increase its individual military expenditure. PESCO establishes that one of the “joint ambitious and rather onerous undertakings” is “the periodic increase in real terms of the defense balance sheets in order to reach the agreed objectives”. 21 of the 27 EU member states are Nato members. Nato’s continuously increasing budget now has the additional expenditure of the European Defense Fund through which the EU will earmark 1.5 billion euro per year to finance research projects in military technology and to buy shared arms systems.

This will be the base line figure, destined to increase over the years. On top of PESCO, are additional costs for “developing new capabilities and preparing to participate together in military operations”. “Capabilities complementing Nato requirements”: on 8 November 2017, Nato’s North Atlantic Council resolved to adapt the command structure so that, “the capacity to strengthen the Allies quickly and effectively” in Europe would be increased.

For this purpose, two new commands are established. A Command for the Atlantic, with the mandate of maintaining “free and secure maritime lines of communication between Europe and the United States, vital for our Transatlantic Alliance”. A Command for Mobilization, tasked with “improving Nato military forces’ capability to move through Europe”. …

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