HL Deb 05 March 2001 vol 623 cc11-2WA
Lord Moynihan

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress has been made on agreement between NATO and the European Union on the chain of command and planning structures for the European Rapid Reaction forces following the Prime Minister's statement (HC Deb., 11 December 2000, col. 349–350) that, "The next step is for the two organisations to agree on the necessary arrangements. Any significant operation will require NATO assets and any such operation will be planned at NATO by the planning staff at SHAPE". [HL902]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

NATO Foreign Ministers on 14–15 December 2000 welcomed the decisions and proposals made at the Nice European Council on European crisis management. It reaffirmed determination to reinforce NATO's European Pillar, and to share the goals endorsed by EU Member States at Nice.

In order to create an EU security and defence dimension without duplicating capabilities that we have built up in NATO, we are continuing to develop detailed arrangements through which the bulk of the military resources needed for planning and conducting European-led operations (eg planning staffs, command structures, key assets) could be drawn from resources already available to NATO. This is ongoing work.

The EU proposed at Nice that for any EU-led operation that has recourse to NATO's assets and capabilities, operational planning will be conducted at SHAPE, under the supervision of the Deputy SACEUR. DSACEUR will often, in such cases, also act as the Operation Commander at the head of a command chain drawn from NATO command structures, but under the political control and strategic direction of the EU. The EU has no plans to establish separate operational planning structures.