MPs call for ad hoc body to monitor EU defence policy

MPs call for ad hoc parliamentary body to monitor development of Common European Security and Defence Policy in bid to increase democratic accountability

The ad hoc body would be comprised of MPs from national
parliaments as well as MEPs from the European Parliament. It will
focus primarily on EU defence and foreign policy issues at meetings
that are to be held at least twice a year.

Concerns have been expressed by parliamentarians
on a number of issues raised by the development of a defence
element within the EU. In particular, concerns relating to
democratic accountability, status of neutral Member States,
relations with NATO and strains on EU-US relations.


A meeting of MPs from Member State parliaments in Brussels on
3 July recommended that an ad hoc parliamentary group be set up to
monitor the development and operation of the Common European
Security and Defence Policy.


The Brussels' meeting was arranged by the presidents of the
Belgian Senate and Chamber of Deputies, Armand De Decker and Herman
De Croo. It must be seen against the background of the 15 Member
States of the EU calling for the establishment of a rapid reaction
force (RRF) of 60,000 men at the Helsinki European Council in
December 1999. This was the first explicit introduction of a
defence element in the European project.


Minutes of the meeting and the declaration will be sent to
national parliaments with a request for a written response to the
suggestion of an ad hoc body by October 2001. A follow up meeting
will be held in November where it is hoped that an agreement on a
more detailed text will be reached and that this can be included in
the Laeken Declaration in December.


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