According to the Council, Permanent Structured Cooperation in the area of security and defense policy was introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, and foresees the possibility of European Union member states working more closely together in the area of security and defense.
European defense ministers from 23 member states had initially signed a joint notification on PESCO on November 13, and handed it over for review to the EU's High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, and the European Council.
Portugal and Ireland later joined the project, leaving Britain, Denmark, and Malta as the only European Union states not participating.
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Officials have earmarked 17 joint projects that will fall under the scope of the PESCO agreement.
According to Mogherini, PESCO, backed by the EU Defense Fund, "will enable member states to use the economy of scale of Europe and in this manner to fulfill the gap of output that we have".
These projects are expected to be formally adopted in early 2018 and include the establishment of a European medical command and an information-sharing platform in response to cybernetic attacks and threats. But Brexit and Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 has once again brought the need for a strong European security stance back into focus.The shift in USA policy under President Donald Trump, who berated European partners on military spending at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in May, has also led many to question whether Washington can be relied upon to protect Europe as it has in the past.
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