Summary: PESCO is a mechanism allowing interested EU states to cooperate in individual fields and projects, thereby supporting ad hoc multi-speed integration. So far, 47 specific programmes have been set up, ranging from the establishment of a European Medical Command (EMC) to a European Union Network of Diving Centres (EUNDC).
At stake: Encourages military integration within an EU framework rather than a NATO one. Discourages cooperation with non-EU industrial sectors, which may be more advanced in the field.
What they say: “RECALLING that the Union is pursuing a common foreign and security policy based on the achievement of growing convergence of action by Member States” – Recital to Protocol 10 of the Lisbon Treaty, introducing PESCO
Exposure: The UK (with Denmark and Malta) has avoided joining PESCO programmes to date.
Action: MPs should ensure that the UK continue to avoid the PESCO framework, which is inherently linked to EU political ambitions (since its founding was significantly inspired by the EU having call on joint resources and capabilities so developed).
Deep dive: https://www.eda.europa.eu/what-we-do/our-current-priorities/permanent-structured-cooperation-(PESCO)/current-list-of-pesco-projects