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Eu Defence Ministers Meeting

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which US officials were invited to attend the EU Defence Ministers' meeting in Brussels on 19 May. [115459]

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Defence Ministers' Meeting in Brussels on 19 May. [115460]

European Union Defence Ministers at the General Affairs and External Relations Council focused mainly on military capabilities, noting that

"the EU now has operational capability across the full range of Petersberg tasks, limited and constrained by recognised shortfalls."
These shortfalls particularly affect speed of deployment and level of risk for larger scale, higher-intensity tasks. Ministers endorsed the launch of ECAP Project Groups, in which participating member states will work on implementing selected solutions identified by the ECAP Panels. Ministers welcomed the first meeting of the EU-NATO Capability Group, which will help to ensure that EU efforts on military capabilities are coherent and mutually reinforcing with the work in NATO, as well as proposals in the context of the Convention for an EU defence capabilities development and acquisition agency. Ministers also noted the significant progress on ESDP since their last formal meeting in November 2002, and in particular, agreement on the Berlin Plus arrangements with NATO and the launch of the first military ESDP operation in Macedonia. The full Conclusions from the General Affairs and External Relations Council will be placed in the Library in the House shortly.