Cyprus Defence Minister says Cyprus' security enhanced with PESCO

Minister of Defence Jüri Luik and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini

"It will primarily depend on France and Germany's ability to address short term technical issues, such as the definition of ambitious projects and the monitoring of the countries' commitments, and to focus on the concrete military effects of this initiative", said the European Leadership Network think tank in a research note.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, center left, speaks with German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, center right, during a meeting of European Union foreign and defense ministers at the Europa building in Brussels, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017.

"I will expect the next Foreign Affairs Council to adopt this formal decision, so that we will be able to launch for the first time ever a European Defense Permanent Structured Cooperation with concrete projects, announced EU Foreign Policy Chief Frederica Mogherini".

"Today we are taking a historic step", boasted German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel.

The creation of PESCO is said to represent the greatest improvement in European Union defence policy in recent decades, with the benefit being shared costs of European Union military operations, joint investments in procuring military capacities and the modernisation of military infrastructure.

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The shift in United States policy under President Donald Trump - who berated European partners on military spending at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in May - has also led many to question whether Washington can be relied upon to protect Europe as it has in the past.

Former UKIP leader Diane James MEP has suggested that, "as the EU Common Defence Fund is being launched way before Brexit, the UK will be providing 13 per cent of the cash" - although this is not yet fully confirmed.

"The real problem is not how much we spend, it is the fact that we spend in a fragmented manner", Mogherini said.

Mrs Mogherini said the move would not only complement Nato's security aims but fill in gaps in the Atlantic alliance. "I think that European cooperation on defense questions will rather contribute to saving money - we have about 50 percent of the United States' defense spending in Europe, but only 15 percent of the efficiency".

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