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European Security And Defence Policy

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of the conditions under which the UK Government would approve a military operation under the European Security and Defence Policy without (a) the express approval of all NATO allies and (b) NATO support and involvement. [115461]

All European Union member states have agreed to develop a European Security and Defence Policy to give the European Union

"an autonomous capacity to take decisions, and, where NATO as a whole is not engaged, to launch and conduct EU-led military operations"
within the scope of the Petersberg tasks. NATO and the EU are independent international organisations. ESDP operations would be considered only where NATO is not engaged.

ESDP operations may be conducted either using NATO assets and capabilities, or without recourse to these assets. The EU will make a decision on this for each operation on a case by case basis. A NATO decision will be needed to approve any request by the EU to use NATO assets and capabilities for operations.

The United Kingdom will decide its position on any proposed ESDP operation on a case by case basis. Considerations would include the objective of the proposed operation as well as the views of partners and allies.