23 EU countries sign key defense pact
A total of 23 European Union members signed a defense pact to deepen cooperation and improve coordination in the development of military hardware on Monday in Brussels.
The signing of the Permanent Structured Cooperation on defense agreement (PESCO) was hailed by the EU's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini as "a new page of European defense."
“This is the beginning of a common work. Twenty-three member states engaging both on capabilities and on operational steps is something big,” she said.
The initiative is expected to be officially launched when EU leaders meet in the Belgian capital on December 14-15.
Apart from Britain, who has decided to leave the EU, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland and Malta have yet to decide whether to join the pact.
Led by France and Germany, 21 other EU states have signed the pact, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.