As Britain Steps Aside, EU States to Negotiate Joint Defense Fund

Peace and Freedom

BRUSSELS — EU states aim to pool public money into a fund to help pay for joint military projects, a senior EU official said on Thursday, in potentially one of the most significant steps to underpin an emerging European defense union.

The fund would form part of Franco-German efforts to develop a more integrated European defense to respond to threats on Europe’s borders, as security becomes a unifying issue for the European Union after Britain’s decision to leave the bloc.

Nineteen countries including France, Germany, Italy and Spain will start talks next month on the so-called Cooperative Financial Mechanism, or CFM, which could be running sometime next year, said the official, who briefed EU defense ministers gathered in Brussels on Thursday.

Britain had long blocked EU defense integration, fearing the development of an EU army.

The fund, whose monies would be…

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