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St. Malo Agreement

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on progress with achieving the objectives of the St. Malo Agreement. (155831)

The 1998 St. Malo text from the summit between the UK and French Governments declares the intentions of the two countries to enable the European Union to play a full role on the international stage. It concentrates particularly on what is now known as European Security and Defence Policy, while recognising the need for ESDP to develop in a way which is both supportive of and supported by NATO’s crisis management activities.

Since 1998 ESDP has developed considerably. It has enabled the EU to launch four peacekeeping operations: in the Democratic Republic of Congo (2003 and 2006); Macedonia (2003); and Bosnia (launched in December 2004), as well as numerous smaller civil-military operations. The current Bosnia operation took over from NATO’s SFOR and has proven the efficacy of the Berlin Plus arrangements agreed in 2003 for EU access to NATO assets.

Other successes include the establishment of the European Defence Agency in 2004 to drive forward capability development and improve defence/industrial co-operation; the continuing development of a capacity for military and joint civil/military planning, based on agreed consultation arrangements with NATO; and the establishment of full operating capability for the rapid-response Battle Groups initiative, achieved in January 2007.

The Government are therefore fully satisfied with progress to date, and we will continue to play a leading role in further progress.