The European Union’s Permanent Structured Cooperation: Implications for Transatlantic Security
By Jonathan Dunn
Strategic Forum 302
Jan. 22, 2020 —
Many U.S. defense officials expressed concern over the European Union’s (EU) November 2017 launch of its Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). They fear that a more capable EU would make it a competitor to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for European security issues, and in so doing reduce U.S. influence in European security.
Concerns about diminished U.S. influence and EU divergence from NATO as a result of PESCO are misguided. Rather than be concerned about the remote possibility of European strategic autonomy, the United States should throw its full support behind the PESCO initiative and other attempts to strengthen European defense.
That said, the United States has an interest in the direction that the EU takes with PESCO and should therefore attempt to shape it constructively. First, the United States should insist that there be tight cooperation between EU and NATO capabilities development planning. Second, the United States should continue to pressure the EU about the issue of third country participation in PESCO projects. Third, the United States should open its own procurement processes to competition from European firms.
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