Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

  During the FAC's Evidence Session on the Laeken European Council, David Chidgey MP asked about the shortfall on the Helsinki headline goal targets for the European Security and Defence Policy. I promised some further information.

  At the EU Capabilities Improvement Conference (CIC) in November, EU Member States met another 10 of the remaining capabilities target areas set by the Helsinki Headline Catalogue. This brought the total to 104 out of 144 target areas. The shortfalls met in the year leading up to the CIC were:

    —  Multiple Launch Rocket Systems

    —  Signal Battalions

    —  Armoured Infantry Battalions

    —  Electronic Warfare Battalions

    —  Engineer Bridging Battalions

    —  Military Observers

    —  Light Infantry Battalions

    —  Division Head Quarters

    —  Mechanised Infantry Battalions

    —  Aviation Battalions

  The EU has 40 remaining significant shortfall areas in order to meet the Helsinki Headline Goal. At the CIC, Member States adopted an "action plan" to address these. Under this plan, Member States will voluntarily sign up to a task force dedicated to meeting one of the 40 remaining shortfall areas.

  I attach a chart, which shows the areas where shortfalls have been met and those which remain. It also displays the Member States which have signed up to addressing them.

  I hope this is useful.

Rt Hon Jack Straw MP
Secretary of State
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

20 December 2001

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