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Common Security and Defence Policy

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 28 June 2022

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Questions (88)

Fergus O'Dowd


88. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Defence the benefits that Ireland has received from joining PESCO since 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33622/22]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

PESCO is a mechanism provided for in the Treaty of the European Union to enable participating Member States to come together and, on a project-by-project basis, jointly develop military crisis management capabilities for use in support of the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations and missions in support of international peace and security.

A total of 60 projects has been established under PESCO since it was established. Ireland is currently participating in one project: the Greek led ‘Upgrade of Maritime Surveillance’ and has confirmed Observer status on a further nine projects.  Of the nine projects on which we are currently observing, Dáil approval will shortly be sought to move to participant level on four of these (this will be debated in the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee on the 30 June and is scheduled to return to the Dáil on the 5 July).  

Ireland will only participate in projects that “contribute to the enhancement of capabilities for UN mandated missions engaged in peace keeping, conflict prevention or the strengthening of international security in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations”.

PESCO projects are no different to any other defence project, they complement and add value to the work the Defence Forces undertake when serving in operations and enables them to further develop their capabilities in support of peacekeeping through participation in joint projects with like-minded partners.  Joint projects should also drive down the costs of developing and procuring capabilities.

The deployment of those capabilities on any operation remains a matter for national decision making by the individual Member States. 

The benefits for Ireland participating in PESCO include increased interoperability with other EU Member States, increased opportunities for capability development, and access to research and technology. Through Ireland's engagement in PESCO projects, the Defence Forces have the opportunity to engage in the development of capabilities that we simply cannot develop on our own.  

Question No. 89 answered orally.