By Dr. Rene Tebel
On 1 August 2020 the defence agreement between the Republic of Cyprus and France entered into force.
Enhanced military cooperation
The agreement provides for improved cooperation "in the fields of energy and maritime security, early warning and crisis management, and the fight against terrorism and piracy," Naval News reports. In addition, the two states want to enter into enhanced military technology cooperation and train Cypriot soldiers at French military schools.
Expansion of a naval base between Limassol and Larnaca
Another project of particular strategic importance is the expansion of the Evangelos Florakis naval base in Mari on the south coast of Cyprus.
France and Cyprus want to share the costs for a port expansion so that larger French warships can dock there.
The talks between the two countries go back to 2018; and were not least connected with Turkish attempts to prevent seismic research, by drilling ships on behalf of French TOTAL and Italian ENI off Cyprus, from being carried out by warships.
Part of the EU-Permanent Structured Cooperation, PESCO
The port development is also related to the "Permanent Structured Cooperation" (PESCO), which was adopted by the Council of EU Member States on 11 December 2017. With this, the EU wants to strengthen the coordination in military cooperation in the areas of security and defence between the 25 member states involved so far, without currently encroaching on the sovereignty of the individual states or aiming for an automatic obligation to provide assistance.
Analysts see PESCO as a response to Donald Trump's isolationist foreign policy. The idea of making European armed forces more compatible in terms of organisation and equipment and reducing multiple structures can also be interpreted as a step towards an EU army.
This article was republished with the permission of Tebel Report
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Al Bawaba News.
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