European Union

Governance and Public Policy

The EU continues to have problems on almost all fronts.

However, it did take one potentially important step when it announces PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation) for use in certain security-related policy areas. The EU has been gradually creating institutions and procedures for cooperating on defense issues, including the ways it should deal with NATO which most EU members also belong to. At first, it will take on relatively minor and technical matters, most notably coordinating budgeting and staffing procedures. However, its founders hope that it will follow what Comparative Politics called a functionalist trajectory and become more powerful as it develops.

PESCO falls far short of a common defense policy. However, in the words of the EU press release, PESCO

will develop capability projects, identified notably through the CARD process in priority areas. Eligible projects could also benefit from financing under the EDF, which would foresee an additional 10% financing for the defence industrial development phase of projects developed within PESCO framework.

Only 23 of the current 28 members joined. The UK did not for obvious reasons. Denmark also stayed out invoking its opt out clause that applies to most policy initiatives. Ireland, Malta, and Portugal had not yet decided whether they should join or not when the decision was announced in November 2017.