HC Deb 15 January 2001 vol 361 cc38-9W
32. Ms Dari Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts about European defence. [143745]

Mr. Hoon

I refer my hon Friend to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow) and my hon Friend the Member for Bolton, North-East (Mr. Crausby), on 15 January 2001,Official Report, column 8.

33. Mr. Miller

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on recent progress towards the headline goal on European defence. [143747]

Mr. Hoon

EU Heads of State and Governments met at the Nice summit in December. This represented another important milestone in the development of new European Security and Defence arrangements. Member states reaffirmed their commitment to improve military capability, including by remedying shortfalls in key enabling capabilities (e.g. lift) and in the characteristics of the armed forces (e.g. availability).

It also looked forward to the establishment of permanent political/military structures that will allow the political control and strategic direction of crisis management operations; and to a close relationship with NATO on the basis of co-operation, consultation and transparency.

The Nice summit additionally set out details for involvement of non-EU Allies and other accession partners in European defence arrangements.

The NATO North Atlantic Council (Foreign Ministers) on 14–15 December 2000 welcomed the Nice Proposals on European defence. It reaffirmed determination to reinforce NATO's European Pillar, and to share the goals endorsed by EU member states at Nice.