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Battle Deployment

Volume 450: debated on Wednesday 25 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) which units are allocated to an EU order of battle deployment; (96250)

(2) what resources the Government have identified as plausible UK commitments in the event of a deployment of the EU Rapid Reaction Force.

There is no EU order of battle or EU rapid reaction force.

In the Helsinki Headline Goal, adopted in 1999, the EU established a target of being able to deploy up to 50,000 to 60,000 troops on a range of crisis management tasks, from humanitarian relief to peace support operations. The UK has offered forces up to a maximum of 12,500 troops, 72 combat aircraft and 18 warships plus support ships. This is not a standing force, but an indication of the numbers and types of forces that the UK could potentially make available for EU-led operations, subject to other commitments.

Additionally the UK has agreed periodically to provide troops on standby in the context of the EU Battlegroups concept. EU Battlegroups are small, mobile self-sustaining forces (approximately 1,500 troops) intended for rapid intervention in a crisis, typically in response to a UN request. The UK provided a national Battlegroup on standby during the first half of 2005 and will do so again in 2008. With the Netherlands we have also offered an amphibious Battlegroup in 2010. Each Battlegroup will be on standby for a period of six months.

The commitment of national forces to an EU-led operation remains a sovereign decision for nations concerned.