The European Council has formally established the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in order to further defence cooperation among member states.
PESCO allows interested member states to jointly develop defence capabilities, invest in shared projects and improve the operational readiness and contribution of their armed forces.
Additionally, 25 EU member states have announced their plans to work on a set of 17 collaborative defence projects.
The European Council is expected to adopt the initial projects in early 2018.
Initial collaborative PESCO projects include European Medical Command, European Secure Software Defined Radio (ESSOR), Military Mobility, and the European Union Training Mission Competence Centre (EU TMCC) among others.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “In June, I said it was time to wake up the sleeping beauty of the Lisbon Treaty: permanent structured cooperation. Six months later, it is happening. I welcome the steps taken today by member states to lay the foundations of a European Defence Union. Europe cannot and should not outsource our security and defence.
“The European Defence Fund that the European Commission proposed will complement these efforts and act as a further incentive for defence cooperation, including potential funding for some of the projects presented today.”
On 13 November, 23 member states signed a joint notification to launch PESCO.
With Ireland and Portugal later joining the framework, the total number of countries approving PESCO has increased to 25.