Launched at the end of 2017 by the European Council, permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) in the field of European defence is akin to beauty: much is in the eye of the beholder. Those who approach the issue of European defence with pro-European and federalist aspirations see the steps taken in 2016–2017 as a breakthrough, carrying great expectations and hopes. Those who, given their age and experience, have known previous breakthroughs that have petered out are much more sceptical about PESCO, not out of a lesser yearning for Europe but because they are aware of the limitations of the initiative and the obstacles that it will face.

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