An MoD official has outlined the proposed terms for the UK’s participation in EU defence agencies and bodies.
The information came to light when Peter Kyle, Member of Parliament for Hove, asked in a written Parliamentary question:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether it is the Government’s intention to seek (a) continued participation of the (i) European Defence Agency and (ii) European Defence Fund or (b) to be part of Permanent Structured Co-operation (PESCO).”
Stuart Andrew, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, responded:
“The proposed terms for the UK’s participation in EU agencies and bodies until the end of 2020 are set out in Article 128 of the Withdrawal Agreement.
As outlined in the Political Declaration, the UK will seek an Administrative Arrangement with the European Defence Agency (EDA) that would enable us to participate in EDA projects and programmes where it is of mutual benefit, to further our defence cooperation opportunities.
The Political Declaration provides the option for the UK to participate in capability projects through the European Defence Fund, subject to conditions in Union Law. Any UK participation in EDF projects would be aligned with our requirements and represent value for money.
The UK has not joined Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), but recognises its potential to support increased defence investment in Europe and the development of capabilities that contribute to NATO. The Government is scrutinising the current list of PESCO projects to identify which of those we might have an interest in, or be able to add value to, as a third country. Our future participation is subject to the rules governing third country access that are still being negotiated by PESCO Participating Member States.”