EU takes step towards limited defence co-operation

Arthur Beesley, Financial Times, 15.11.2016

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Aim to boost capacity for joint deployments, air security and surveillance operations

EU member states have taken their biggest step in years towards increasing defence co-ordination but stopped well short of creating a full-blown headquarters with “executive” powers to arm and direct common military operations. [..]

Although the initiative also seeks to use powers in the EU treaties that allow coalitions of member states to proceed with defence plans if unanimous support is lacking, observers believe rapid progress is unlikely.

“When you have difficult times, you have nice Sunday talk that can then meet with political reality on Monday morning. It doesn’t mean that things will not progress — they do, but in very small steps,” said Janis Emmanouilidis, director of studies at the European Policy Centre.

“Nothing has changed in respect of the basic facts of life: when it comes to matters of life and death, member states are not ready to surrender their national sovereignty.” [...]

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