§ Mr. Hoon
The OCCAR Convention was signed by the Defence Ministers of France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom in September 1998. Following the passage of the relevant legislation through Parliament earlier this year, the United Kingdom ratified the Convention on 3 May and deposited its instrument of ratification on 11 May. France and Germany have also completed the ratification process, and Italy has presented 35W the Convention to its Parliament. We expect Italy to complete the ratification process by the end of this year, after which OCCAR will have its own legal identity.
OCCAR is already responsible for the management of seven European collaborative defence equipment programmes under existing administrative arrangements. Two of these involve the UK: the Counter Battery Radar (COBRA) programme; and the Multi Role Armoured Vehicle (MRAV) programme. Other programmes will be integrated into OCCAR in due course, as appropriate.