EU defence ministers finalise rapid reaction force

EU defence ministers will start pledging troops and equipment for the common rapid reaction force at their meeting on 22 September.

Defence ministers of the fifteen EU member states are meeting at the castle of Ecouen in Val-d'Oise, France, on 22 September, to start pledging troops and equipment for the 60,000-strong common rapid reaction force.

The EU launched a new common security and defence policy at its December 1999 summit in Helsinki, and set up common military structures in Brussels. The rapid reaction force should be operational by 2003, and is to be used in humanitarian and peace-keeping operations.

Final decisions on the creation of the rapid reaction force will be taken at the EU summit in Nice on 7-8 December this year.

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