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Today’s geopolitical context requires strong EU leadership when addressing both European and global security and defence concerns. The establishment of a Permanent Structured Cooperation – referred to as PESCO – in December 2017 and the subsequent adoption of the initial set of 17 projects in March 2018 has raised cooperation among the 25 participating EU Member States to a new level.
Closer EU defence cooperation necessitates that Member States' Armed Forces are able to move within the Union. However, time consuming border formalities and inadequate infrastructure pose serious obstacles. For a more effective EU defence, it is crucial to overcome these hurdles. A comprehensive EU action programme launched in spring 2018 aims to achieve this.
In the context of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) platform, the ESDC has already conducted CSDP activities in five of the six EaP countries since May 2018. In June, Azerbaijan hosted an Orientation Course for the first time. Therefore, all six EaP countries have been actively contributing to the successful implementation of EaP deliverable number 12, 'stronger security cooperation', for 2020 (see below: Background).
From 9 to 13 July, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Austria, the Finnish Ministry of Interior and the Finnish Crisis Management Centre (CMC) hosted a course on strategic planning for CSDP civilian missions in their respective permanent representations to the EU, under the auspices of the European Security and Defence College.