Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.
|30 Nov 2017, 4:26 p.m.||European Investment Bank||Andrew Rosindell|
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether any future UK liabilities towards the European Investment Bank arise from EU Permanent Structured Cooperation; and if he will make a statement.
Answer (Mr Tobias Ellwood)
The aim of the EU's Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) is to strengthen EU Member States' cooperation in military matters. Under PESCO, groups of participating Member States can work together to pursue specific capability projects. PESCO is voluntary and works on an opt-in basis. It is not a Common Security and Defence Policy operation or mission and there is no operational headquarters.
At the 13 November Foreign Affairs Council with Defence Ministers, 23 Member States signed a notification letter as the first step in the establishment of PESCO. It is expected that PESCO will be launched at the Foreign Affairs Council in December but there are several details yet to be decided including funding arrangements, and prioritisation and governance arrangements for PESCO projects.
The UK did not sign the notification letter but the Government supports the ambition to develop military capabilities that address the shortfalls in EU and NATO contexts. We welcome PESCO as a tool to support the development of capabilities that Europe needs for its security, provided it remains complementary to NATO and encourages EU-NATO cooperation.
Our bilateral Defence cooperation with Member States, including France through the Lancaster House Treaties, is in the interest of the whole of Europe, and PESCO will not change that. We believe that PESCO must be designed in a way that promotes an open and competitive European Defence industry. We are encouraging Member States to develop PESCO to be open to third country participation where there is clear value in doing so. Projects carried out under PESCO arrangements should remain Member State-owned and the capabilities delivered should be available not only to the EU but can also be used in support of NATO and UN operations. PESCO does not affect independent organisations such as the European Air Group.
We continue to engage in the development of PESCO and our approach reflects our commitment to European defence and security, and protecting the interests of UK industry.