Fri 19-05-2017 19:37 PM
ABU DHABI, 19th May, 2017 (WAM) -- European Union defence ministers agreed on 18th May to establish a fund for joint military projects, Politico reported.
At a meeting of national defence ministers of the in Brussels, they also agreed that the fund - to be known as the Cooperative Financial Mechanism - will be run by the European Defence Agency.
Member countries will contribute on a voluntary basis and the aim is to incentivise defense cooperation by overcoming the lack of budgetary synchronisation between EU nations.
At least 19 countries - including France, Germany, Italy and Spain - will start talks on the fund next month and it could be up and running sometime next year.
The push for defence integration was at the center of Thursday’s meeting of national defence ministers. They also discussed the first step in the use of a so-called permanent structured cooperation, or Pesco, that allows European nations willing to engage in greater military cooperation to do so without waiting for the consensus of the others.
"At present, there has been positive interest [for the fund] by 19 member states," a senior EU official was quoted by the US newspaper as saying. He added that the fund "will remain in the hands of member states, all of them can participate in the negotiations and then each can decide to remain or not."
The fund will operate in a similar way to the European Stability Mechanism - the eurozone’s permanent bailout fund - the official said.