EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini hailed the decision as a "historic moment in European defense".
Ireland, Portugal, and Malta are undecided whether to join. At that the member states retain their sovereign right to leading their own national defense. Its annex stated that "a long term vision of PESCO could be to arrive at a coherent full spectrum force package - in complementarity with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which will continue to be the cornerstone of collective defense for its members".
This permanent framework for defense cooperation will allow those member states willing and able to jointly develop defense capabilities, invest in shared projects, or enhance the operational readiness and contribution of their armed forces.
The European Council has agreed in June to establish PESCO and the EU leaders discussed the progress in preparing during last summit.
"It has clear outlines, so we're confident that it will garner significant support", said Gajdoš, who hopes to draw resources from the newly created European Defence Fund for its budgeting, with an eye towards cutting the financial onus that it will put on Bratislava.
Membership of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) initiative will present an opportunity for Slovakia to bolster its defence capabilities, both for national purposes and in meeting its global commitments, said Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) who signed an intention for Slovakia to join PESCO along with State Secretary for Foreign and European Affairs, Ivan Korčok, in Brussels on November 13.
There are strong indications that British officials are pushing hard for the United Kingdom to be included in the Permanent Structured Cooperation process, or PESCO, which is key to the Defence Union plans set out by President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker recently.
"The real problem is not how much we spend, it is the fact that we spend in a fragmented manner", Mogherini said.
This has led to unease by European allies that the US was not committed to the alliance's mutual defense pact.
Attendees pose for group photos after signing a pact on joint defense cooperation at the headquarters of the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, Nov. 13, 2017.