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European Defence Agency

Volume 564: debated on Monday 17 June 2013

The European Defence Agency has achieved some initial success in delivering improvements to the capabilities of European nations, but we believe that it could do a great deal better. That is why the Ministry of Defence concluded earlier this year that although we should maintain our subscription to the agency, our continuing membership is to be reviewed again in late 2013 in the light of progress made during the year.

Does my hon. Friend agree that continued UK membership must be based on detailed cost-benefit analysis of both UK defence needs and those of our European NATO allies?

The EDA spends €30.5 million a year, which is a great deal of money in the current circumstances. I think the House will agree that it would be perverse if we were forced to make cutbacks in defence at home while voting through increases at a European level. I am therefore pleased to say that in November last year I again vetoed the increase in the EDA budget. The UK was the only country to exercise its vote in that way. For as long as the EDA fails to cut the mustard, we will continue to do just that.