Whether PESCO can become the longed-for Quantum Leap for European defence depends on how it is implemented. “We managed to give birth to a baby (…) and now we have the collective responsibility to take care of this baby, keep the attention focused on the implementation of the decisions taken and deliver on the commitments that Member States participating in PESCO took”, HR/VP Mogherini stated when the first list of 17 PESCO projects were approved last March. There lies the crux of the matter: PESCO is not an end in itself but a tool that, if well used, can be a step change.

In the following 24 pages, we have a closer look at PESCO’s potential to propel European defence, Member States’ visions and expectations towards it, its interaction with other EU defence initiatives, and the conditions that must be met to make it a success. 

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PESCO going forward: Building on a solid foundation