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European Gendarmerie Force

Volume 457: debated on Friday 23 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the European Gendarmerie Force was established; for what reason the UK did not join it; and if she will make a statement. (122669)

The European Gendarmerie Force (EGF) was established in September 2004, following an agreement signed by the Defence Ministers of France, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. It was declared operational in July 2006.

The EGF is drawn from the national paramilitary police bodies of the five contributing states, i.e. the Nationale Gendarmerie (France), Carabinieri (Italy), Guardia Civil (Spain), Guarda Nacional Republicana (Portugal), Koninklijke Marechaussee (The Netherlands). The EGF comprises armed police units organised in military formations of companies and battalions, with the ability to undertake a variety of military and civilian policing tasks. EGF units can be placed under either a military or civilian chain of command according to prevailing operational circumstances.

The UK is not a member of the EGF as it has no comparable police bodies. The UK is however supportive of the role that it can play in crisis management missions worldwide.