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Armaments (Procurement)

Volume 972: debated on Thursday 25 October 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will consider, with his colleagues in the Western European Union Council, measures to be taken jointly to provide a common structure for national defence budgets, national defence equipment procurement processes and procedure for supplying classified information, with a view to instituting a European policy of procurement of new weapons systems.

The Western European Union Council is at present considering an Assembly recommendation on precisely these matters.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he considers that consultations between military headquarters of the European member countries of the Atlantic Alliance are regular enough to produce agreement on joint specifications for the military equipment required by these countries and on replacement schedules leading to the organisation of the joint production of armaments on a European basis: and if he is satisfied with results achieved by FINABEL, the independent European programme group, the conference of national armaments directors and the standing armaments committee, respectively, in this field.

The many international institutions available, including those mentioned, provide adequate machinery for exploring opportunities for collaboration in the defence equipment field. However, I recognise that the problems of reconciling different national interests and capabilities are formidable.