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EU defence integration moves onward—but where to?

Talk of an “EU army” is seriously premature, but there is much of interest in the historic “PESCO” declaration

By Leopold Traugott  

Attendees pose for group photos after signing a pact on joint defense cooperation at the headquarters of the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, Nov. 13, 2017. Photo: EU/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

On Monday, representatives from 23 European Union member states agreed to take EU defence integration one step further. As ministers signed up to the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) declaration, speeches were filled with mentions of an “historic day” and “milestone” for the bloc’s integration.

The pact will make some rejoice and others shiver, as it brings the notorious “EU army” idea to mind. But this declaration is, so far, not much more than an interesting proposal. It will…

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