Yet the political rhetoric surrounding its launch has raised expectations that the EU may not be able to meet. This is mainly due to misperceptions about the legal nature and enforceability of the so-called “binding” commitments agreed to. PESCO will need to overcome at least three key challenges:
- raising the level of ambition while ensuring inclusivity;
- maintaining credibility in case participating States do not comply with their commitments;
- and ensuring coherence with the many other building blocks in Europe’s defence architecture.
Arguably, legal commitments are the hardest in the area of industrial integration. With moves to incentivize capability development and create a single market for defence, the Community method will be applied to a field hitherto jealously shielded off by the Member States. This dimension of the incipient European Defence Union represents a game-changer in the integration process.