Pesco is an Italian word for “peach tree”, but in Eurospeak PESCO means Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defence, as outlined in the Treaty of the EU. The EU has traditionally been big as a soft power, but small on defence and security. Nowadays soft power is in low demand, and citizens name security as one of their major concerns.
Today Bulgaria announced it will join PESCO.
Media in Bulgaria paid no attention. But the decision is significant. Bulgarian joins those who want to see the EU moving forward and becoming a stronger global player, and seek no refuge in the thesis of doing nothing, for the sake of not undermining NATO.
On 7 September EU defence ministers hosted by the Estonian Presidency in Tallinn, were in broad agreement on how to move forward, paving the way for a legal decision launching PESCO possibly by the end of the year.
On this occasion, it was decided that by mid-October, member states would present to EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini “the basis for a common notification of interest of member states” to participate in a Permanent Structure of Cooperation in the field of defence.
This is what Bulgaria did today.
— EU2018BG (@EU2018BG) October 24, 2017
The next steps are that following the notifications, the EU will adopt a formal legal decision to be negotiated then within the following three months. As Mogherini said in Tallinn, PESCO could be launched by the end of December.
This would allow a group of willing member states to launch Permanent Structured Cooperation in the field of defence, on a voluntary basis and established through the Council.
Reaching an agreement on a complete transfer of competences in the field of defence policy to the EU level will be rather difficult, given the existing NATO framework.
Instead, under PESCO the focus is on expansion of the cooperation in terms of individual projects. Armament projects, which are interesting for several member states, are going to be launched jointly by them. They then will be considered as EU projects, even if not all member states are involved.
Bulgaria is not a rich country, but it has a significant potential in the industry of armament. And the peaches in Bulgaria is by far the tastier.