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On 14 December 2017, the EU formally launched a new framework for improved cooperation in the field of security and defence. Ireland was among the 25 Member States to sign up for the new ‘Permanent Structured Cooperation’, or ‘PESCO’ as it is commonly known, a defence cooperation arrangement requiring more rigorous collective oversight and sustained financial contribution from the Member States. This agreement reflects the fact that defence is now high on the agenda as the EU adapts to a future without the United Kingdom as a member state.
In this policy paper, Patrick Keatinge, Co-Chair of the IIEA’s Security and Defence Group and Professor Emeritus at Trinity College Dublin, explains the context of PESCO within the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy, and argues that it does not threaten Ireland’s policy of military neutrality.