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The EU’s Structured Military Cooperation (PSC) of 46 military projects is being examined by Turkey after the bloc called on Canada, Norway and the United States to join forces. The project, aimed at improving EU-NATO cooperation, was opened by Brussels to third countries for the first time this month.
Under the plan, the political conditions for third countries limit their participation to cases where they bring “substantial added value” to the military project and share “the values on which the EU is founded”.
Many European diplomats agreed that the set of political conditions effectively excluded Russia, China, but also Turkey, especially after the deterioration of relations between Brussels and Ankara in recent years.
But the Turkish government has now officially sent an application for membership.
The request followed a warning Turkey issued to the EU in November about threats it would not be allowed to implement until the dispute with Cyprus and Greece was resolved.
Turkish officials then warned that “if the PSC starts off on the wrong foot and creates new dividing lines, it will neither succeed nor contribute to the transatlantic security architecture.”
EU foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano told EURACTIV that “the Netherlands, as project coordinator, have indicated that the application will be assessed by project members, in accordance with established procedures , as they did for previous requests ”.
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Asked on the same question, the Dutch spokesperson said that “non-EU countries are free to apply to participate in PUC projects”.
“After such a request, all members of the project must unanimously decide whether this country meets the conditions,” added the spokesperson.
However, neither official commented on whether Turkey’s candidacy would meet the political conditions.
A total of 24 EU countries are currently participating in the PESCO alliance.
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EU army: Turkey has officially applied to join the PUC
Cyprus, which is not a NATO member, does not have a security agreement with NATO on the exchange of classified documents, as Turkey vetoed the proposal.
The Mediterranean country is therefore expected to exercise its veto power to in turn exclude Turkey from PSC.
The issue is likely to spark a diplomatic row between member states who see Turkey’s participation in the PSC as a way to improve EU-NATO cooperation as well as normalize relations between Turkey, Cyprus. and Greece.
The EU Military Mobility Project is designed to facilitate the movement of troops across Europe, which NATO considers crucial in the event of a conflict with Russia.
It comes as some within the bloc have demanded closer military cooperation, or the EU’s army, within the bloc and a defense union.
While NATO has spearheaded efforts to reduce conflicting regulations in 27 EU countries for US troop transfers, the EU has a budget to support rebuilding bridges too weak to tanks and has more power over changing block-wide rules.
The bloc has since earmarked 1.7 billion euros from its common budget until 2028 to improve so-called military mobility in support of NATO. The NATO alliance has 30 allies, many of whom are also members of the EU.
Military mobility aims to improve the exchange of information between EU countries and reduce red tape at borders, including harmonizing customs rules to allow rapid deployments and easier transport of military equipment.
The so-called EU army does not yet exist, with military powers organized individually by the 27 EU member states.
In March, the EU approved a € 5 billion defense project that will open the door for the bloc to provide military aid to countries around the world, sparking a row in the European Parliament.
The plan, called the European Peace Facility (EPF), “will better assist partner countries” by supporting their peacekeeping operations and helping them “to increase the capacity of their armed forces to provide peace and security in the country. their national territory, ”the EU claimed.
The bloc plans to use this money to finance its missions and operations under the EU’s common security and defense policy, as well as military infrastructure and equipment for partner countries.