Apart from Britain, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland and Malta have yet to decide whether to join the pact.
"If there is a crisis in our neighborhood, we have to be able to act", she said. The notice of intent to be inked in Brussels on Monday, seen by AFP, includes a pledge to "regularly increasing defence budgets in real terms" as well as commitments to devote 20 percent of defence spending on procurement and two percent on research and technology. These include the establishment of an European Union defense headquarters for training missions in Somalia, Mali and Central African Republic, a pilot project to coordinate national budgets to identify capability shortfalls, and the new military pact.
France was initially keen for a smaller group of nations that would more readily commit to possible foreign interventions such as in Libya or Mali.
"The Germans say respect unity and proceed modestly at the start with... all these little projects - they won't help the EU's independent capacity", Mauro told AFP.
"This is the beginning of a common work - 23 member states engaging both on capabilities and on operational steps, that's something big", Mogherini said. "It has no chance of working".
British foreign minister Boris Johnson said that even though it was not taking part, the United Kingdom saw promise in PESCO and pledged to be "supportive". PESCO includes a pledge that countries will provide "substantial support. with personnel, materiel, training, exercise support, infrastructure" for European Union military missions, the document said. Britain can take part in some if they are of benefit to the entire EU.
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