The Slovenia Times

Slovenia to join another PESCO defence project


The new projects as part of the permanent form of defence cooperation in Europe, established in 2017, were confirmed by the EU defence ministers in Brussels on Tuesday, with the total number of PESCO projects now standing at 47.

Slovenia has so far been participating in three projects as part of the partnership involving all EU member states except the UK, Denmark and Malta, and has been present in another five as observer.

The three projects are related to cross-border military mobility, creation of a network of logistics hubs and nuclear, chemical, radiological and biological defence.

As part of the projects confirmed today, Slovenia will join a project to create an integrated joint centre for training and simulations, which will be managed by Hungary.

Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Austria also signed today a programme agreement for a project in nuclear, chemical, radiological and biological oversight as a service which will be operated by Austria.

Erjavec said that the project, which also had a civilian dimension to it, was about drones supplying data on the situation on the ground, adding that Slovenian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) could participate.

They could be joined by research institutes, especially in the fields of sensors, IT, robotics, simulators and other communication solutions which require high-tech knowledge. Erjavec hopes that Slovenia will not miss this opportunity.

According to him, the Defence Ministry has earmarked EUR 100,000 for this purpose in 2019, and EUR 300,000 for 2021. It is too early to talk about details of financing, which the minister expects will take place within a consortium.

The project has become an ad hoc project of the European Defence Agency, which means that it will have all know-how and support of the agency at its disposal.

The minister discussed potential participation of third countries in PESCO projects, but an agreement is not expected to be reached any time soon.

Erjavec thinks that procrastinating with the decision about whether to involve third countries could only harm PESCO, and argues that it does not make sense to support solely European solutions which would be three times cheaper if third countries would be involved.

The minister noted that some member states had no interest in the involvement of, for example Turkey, and that countries with strong military industries were also against.

Erjavec believes that an answer is not near and that the new European Commission will deal with it as the current situation is uncertain, also because of Brexit.

The ministers also reviewed the 16 European missions and operations, with Erjavec confirming Slovenia's commitment to staying in the Mali mission, and announcing EUR 50,000 for protective equipment for the Mali security forces.


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