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Foreign Affairs Council

Volume 571: debated on Thursday 28 November 2013

The 19 November 2013 Defence Foreign Affairs Council opened with consideration of the European Defence Agency budget: I successfully argued for a flat cash settlement. Discussing the defence industry in more detail than the previous day’s joint Session with Foreign Ministers, Defence Ministers were broadly agreed on initiatives to improve small and medium-sized enterprise access to the defence market and on the need to avoid unnecessary new legislation. The UK backed measures to increase competition but expressed concern over the potential of some proposals to damage exports and opposed Commission ownership of high-end military or dual-use capabilities.

On common security and defence policy (CSDP) operations, the UK welcomed the extension of Althea’s Executive mandate; supported the French view that European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM) should be extended, subject to a robust estimate of costs; and argued for a two-year extension to Atalanta’s mandate with a conditions-based end state. The UK also supported remarks from the NATO Secretary-General, who attended the meeting, highlighting the importance of co-ordination and co-operation between the EU and NATO.