Rome, Nov 11 (IANS/AKI) Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinott on Friday urged more integrated defence in Europe to better tackle current global challenges including terrorism, arguing that individual nations will still be able to defend themselves.
"A Europe that is more integrated from the point of view of defence can better face the new global challenges such those posed by Syria and Iraq or those in Africa which require projects to boost security and fight illegal immigration.
"To have more integrated defence in Europe does not mean giving up national autonomy in the field of defence. It does not mean a country can no longer defend itself," she told a conference on Italy's foreign and European policy taking place at the Italian lower house of parliament.
Closer defence cooperation is allowed under European treaties, but until now has never been implemented, Pinotti said.
"Finally, 60 years later, we are looking to go down the route of more integrated European defence" she said.
At least 20 European Union members are expected to sign a new military collaboration pact - known as Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) - as early as next week. PESCO is due to be approved by EU heads of state and government at a summit in Brussels in December.
PESCO is considered the 'sleeping beauty' of the Lisbon Treaty and could transform EU security policy.
France was the first country to propose to creating a European army in 1954 but the project was ditched following protests from citizens.
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