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Nato Eurotraining Working Group

Volume 886: debated on Tuesday 11 February 1975

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13.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what was the British contribution to NATO's Eurotraining Working Group in 1971, 1972 and 1973, and to the latest available date; and if he will make a statement.

I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to the work of the Eurogroup in the field of training. The Eurotraining Working Group, set up under German chairmanship in 1970, has made solid progress in extending the range and scope of the joint training arrangements that had been developed earlier. It is now moving towards the next goal of one nation assuming responsibility for all training, in a particular area of activity.

The United Kingdom has always attached great importance to the work of the Eurogroup and is playing a full part in the activities of Eurotraining. In addition to the offers which we had already made for the training of naval helicopter control officers and of personnel handling the Lance missile, I suggested at the last Eurogroup meeting a number of other areas which offer possibilities for profitable co-operative projects.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that very important reply. He will agree, I am sure, that this is an important area of co-operation. However, I am wondering about the extent to which we are training NATO forces in the United Kingdom.

I am pleased that my hon. Friend recognises the importance of my reply, because considerable savings can be achieved on defence expenditure within NATO if we can make progress in these activities. During 1974, the United Kingdom trained 800 students from within NATO.