asked Her Majesty's Government:With reference to the Presidency Report to the Nice Council on European Union Security and Defence Policy, what is the purpose and nature of the Satellite Centre and its agencies which are to incorporate existing parallel Western European Union structures; and what will its relationship with NATO be. [HL406]
Ministers at the WEU Ministerial Council in Marseille in November 2000 and at the Nice European Council in December 2000 decided to transfer the functions of the WEU Satellite Centre to the EU. This will take effect from 1 January 2002. The Satellite Centre, based at Torrejon in Spain, is an imagery analysis and training centre: it does not possess its own satellites and does not have subsidiary agencies. In the EU its primary role will be to provide interpretation of satellite and aerial images, acquired from external sources, to the Council of Ministers in support of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. Under the EU, as under the WEU, the Satellite Centre is unlikely to have a permanent formal relationship with NATO, but will be able to offer its services to a variety of customers including national governments and international organisations, such as NATO.