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Policy brief | 9 October 2017

Can France and Germany Make PESCO Work as a Process Toward EU Defence?

Image of Martin Quencez

Martin Quencez |Fellow and Senior Program Officer, Security and Defence, at the German Marshall Fund

EU European Defence

Following the development of several new initiatives, European defence cooperation is once again a hot topic in Brussels. It now lies in the hands of the member states to deliver. France and Germany are leading the process to implement the new EU Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defence (PESCO), proposing a phased approach toward capability and operational commitments as a way to increase Europe’s general defence effort.

Yet, many practical challenges remain on the way to a successful PESCO, it will primarily depend on France and Germany’s ability to address short-term technical issues, such as the definition of ambitious projects and the monitoring of the countries’ commitments, and to focus on the concrete military effects of this initiative. On the other hand, differences in strategic cultures and models for European defense, although crucial in the long run, should not be overestimate in the current security environment.

This policy brief was written in partnership with the German Marshall Fund of the United States.


The opinions articulated above represent the views of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the position of the European Leadership Network or any of its members. The ELN’s aim is to encourage debates that will help develop Europe’s capacity to address the pressing foreign, defence, and security challenges of our time.