EU defence ministers to discuss first military exercises

EU defence ministers to agree first timetable for EU military exercises including some without NATO

European Union defence ministers meet on 14 May to agree on a date for the first joint military exercises involving EU's rapid reaction force (RRF). The defence meeting is intended to prepare the EU for a fully established operational RRF by December 2001.


The 15 Member States of the EU called for the establishment of a RRF of 60,000 men at the Helsinki European Council in December 1999. It is envisaged that this force will be capable of doing peacekeeping and crisis intervention tasks and staying in the field for up to a year.


Although the total expected number of troops would not be available until 2003, Member States believe they can have a scaled down RRF that can do some peacekeeping duties by the end of 2001.


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