Cyprus' defence mechanism and security is strengthened within PESCO, the Permanent Structured Cooperation of the European Union, as provided in Lisbon Treaty, Defence Minister Christophoros Phokaides has said.
The European Union took a step towards closer defence ties yesterday, with 23 states signing a landmark pact aiming to boost cooperation after Brexit and as Russian Federation flexes its muscles to the east.
European Union Foreign Ministers, who are meeting on Monday in Brussels, will hear EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini report on her recent lobbying trip to the USA on the Iran nuclear deal. Member states participating in PESCO retain the sovereign right to command their own national defense, and the capabilities developed within PESCO will belong to the member states, who will be able to use them as they wish, regardless of the format, including in fulfilling their own national needs and those of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Britain can take part in some if they are of benefit to the entire EU.
Phokaides pointed out that the safer the European Union is, the safer Cyprus becomes as well, adding that when conditions are formed for a common defence, Cyprus will benefit and will have a greater protection and security against any threat.
Earlier this year, the European Commission launched a major financial incentive for countries to cooperate on defense procurement, with a new European Defense fund worth €5.5 billion per year.
"Today we will launch a new page for the European Defence", said Frederica Mogherini, the EU's foreign and defence policy representative. The EU, she said, has tools to fight hybrid warfare - the use of conventional weapons mixed with things like propaganda and cyber-attacks - that the military alliance does not have at its disposal.
Participants have signed up to a list of commitments which "include increasing the share of expenditure allocated to defense research and technology with a view to nearing the 2 percent of total defense spending" and to "regularly increasing defense budgets in real terms".
Gabriel said working together is "more economical than if everyone does the same". He said Europe spends 50 percent as much as the United States on defense yet only has 15 percent of its military efficiency.