The Council adopts 14 new PESCO projects to deepen EU defence cooperation



The Council has adopted today three important documents to strengthen defence cooperation within the framework of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). This includes a package of 14 new PESCO projects, which will see EU defence cooperation strengthened in critical areas.

First, it endorsed the 4th wave of PESCO projects, adding 14 new projects in five domains: land, maritime, air, cyber and space. 20 Member States will participate in these projects, which are of a more operational nature, as asked for by the PESCO Strategic Review 2020. They are also in line with the agreed EU Capability Development Priorities and NATO priorities.

With this addition, there are now 60 ongoing PESCO projects under implementation that will deepen defence cooperation between Member States and contribute to the development of the needed capabilities to further strengthen the Union’s credibility as a security and defence actor. Our efforts will now focus on delivering concrete results. At least one third of the projects are expected to be fully operational by 2025.

Some of the new projects are very ambitious and significant, in particular in the air and space domains. For example:

  • Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo: this project will fill a critical shortfall for Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo by developing in a gradual approach a European solution for the transport of outsized and heavy cargo.
  • Medium size Semi-Autonomous Surface Vehicle: this project will develop a vehicle with multiple mission modules and provide increased operational flexibility and crew protection. While the design focuses on littoral operations the platform will be also deployable as part of naval task groups.
  • Next Generation Small RPAS: this project will develop the next generation of tactical drones to be used by military units, for Maritime and Air domain, as well as for dual use (civilian-defence), namely by law enforcement organizations or disaster/emergency agencies.
  • Defence of Space Assets: this project will increase the EU’s operational efficiency in the space domain by making the best use of current and future space assets through cross-cutting space functions of access, passive defence and operational efficiency through training.

Second, the Council adopted a Council Recommendation on the more precise objectives of PESCO. In light of the PESCO Strategic Review 2020, this document sets out more precise objectives based on the experience gained from the first initial phase in order to help participating Member States to better achieve concrete deliverables and to facilitate implementation with regard to the fulfilment of the more binding commitments by the end of 2025.

Finally, the Council adopted a Recommendation on the progress made by the participating Member States to fulfil commitments undertaken in the framework of the PESCO. It highlights positive trends and improvements, notably in terms of defence expenditures and regarding the use of EU capability planning and development tools and processes, while also stressing areas where more efforts still have to be done, particularly when it comes to better staff and equip our CSDP missions and operations.


See also