The European Council has in a recent statement announced the conditions under which countries outside the EU can take part in PESCO defence projects that are aimed at developing new types of armaments for European Union member states.
"The Council recognises that a third State could, and would need to, provide substantial added value to the PESCO projects, contribute to strengthening PESCO […] and meet more demanding commitments, while fully respecting the principle of decision-making autonomy of the EU and its member states", the statement said.
The council’s decision comes in the wake of two reports by the El Pais media outlet about US dissatisfaction with PESCO and the barriers that the project imposes on the participation of companies from outside the EU.
Namely, the US is reportedly "deeply concerned" by the need to receive a green light from every EU state in order for a foreign company to participate. Another point of concern for Washington allegedly has to do with exclusive intellectual property rights to developed products being retained by the EU.
The US also allegedly claimed that if the EU works separately on its own military equipment, then that "produces duplication, incompatibility of military systems, dispersion of scarce defence resources and unnecessary competition between NATO and the EU".
In another report, citing documents obtained from a meeting between US officials and members of the EU's Political and Security Committee, El Pais stated that Washington wants the EU to remain closely linked to US defence manufacturers instead of working on creating its own armaments. One US official reportedly warned that Brussels would have to either "renounce the use of the best technological capabilities which exist or develop their own".
PESCO is part of the EU security and defence policy, which seeks to boost cooperation between defence industry companies and states in a bid to develop European military equipment.