Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), another flagship EU military and defence integration initiative, is fully dependent on the 25 participating Member States’ financial contributions. If national defence budgets suffer reductions, PESCO will too. Paradoxically, several of the 47 PESCO projects adopted, if funded accordingly, could strengthen Member States’ preparedness if or when another public health crisis hits. One example is the European Medical Command. This project is aimed at providing a centralised medical capability to coordinate military medical resources across Member States, but also to ‘create a common operational medical picture, enhance the procurement of critical medical resources and contribute to harmonising national medical standards’. The objective is for the Command to be operational in 2021. Other examples of projects that could at least be partly useful in such a crisis can be seen in Figure 3, but notably include the ‘Special Operations Forces Medical Training Centre’, the Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) Defence Training Range’, the ‘Deployable Military Disaster Relief Capability Package’.
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