To top
PESCO and NATO Defence Projects: Coordination or Competition?
Analysis and Forecasting. IMEMO Journal

PESCO and NATO Defence Projects: Coordination or Competition?

DOI: 10.20542/afij-2022-4-35-45
© Alexander A. ALESHIN, 2022
Received 16.09.2022.
Revised 25.11.2022.
Accepted 12.12.2022.
Alexander A. ALESHIN (, ORCID: 0000-0002-7872-3298,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation.
The EU’s PESCO projects and NATO’s High Visibility Projects are aimed at strengthening the defence capabilities of the member states of these two structures, creating new military technologies, jointly purchasing equipment and weapons, optimizing countries' defence spending and coordinating the transformation of their armed forces structures in accordance with collective interests. At the same time, the projects of the EU and NATO have different tasks that align with the foreign policy goals of these different in nature structures. Due to the participation of various states in each of them, primarily the United States in NATO, a number of contradictions between them remain. However, most of them are offset by the EU–NATO cooperation.
The latter has significantly intensified since 2016. Two bilateral declarations were signed and two packages of measures for their implementation were adopted. The parties have strengthened political cooperation, interaction during operations, coordination of defence planning, they jointly develop projects for the formation of military infrastructure, develop deepen military-technical cooperation in areas of common interest.
The article analyzes the PESCO and High Visibility Projects projects, compares them and identifies the links and differences between them. It is substantiated that, despite the various tasks, in the conditions of the modern transformation of the world order and the evolution of threats to their member states, the EU and NATO are expanding coordination in defence planning and developing a division of responsibilities between the two. The PESCO and High Visibility Projects are being implemented in full synchronization with each other, with the participation of a number of EU member states, but not-NATO members, in NATO projects and vice versa. Rather, the projects complement each other, although the scope of PESCO is much broader due to the peculiarities of the nature of the European Union as a regional integration association.
The theoretical and methodological basis of the study is a spatial approach. It is substantiated that the EU and NATO, both being already transnational political spaces, form a superstructure space of EU-NATO cooperation, in which the actors of the first level – these two structures themselves – and the second level –  the states – interact more intensively than with external actors, participate in the struggle for power, redistribution of resources, form the identity of this transnational space. It is concluded that in the future, coordination between the PESCO and High Visibility Projects, as well as between the EU and NATO in general, will expand.

For citation:

Aleshin A. PESCO and NATO Defence Projects: Coordination or Competition?. Analysis & Forecasting. Journal of IMEMO, 2022, no 4, pp. 35-45.

© IMEMO 2024