Does the EU Have the Security and Defence Capabilities it needs?

20 October 2011

The EU Foreign Affairs, Defence and Development Policy Sub-Committee heard from the Ministry of Defence's Head of NATO & Europe Policy and a senior Security Policy official from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office as part of its inquiry into whether the EU’s access to military capabilities is good enough.

The Sub-Committee quizzed Alison Stevenson (MOD) and Nick Pickard (FCO) about issues including:

  • how effective the EU's security and defence policy is in view of declining defence budgets across the EU.
  • how the EU fits into the UK's national security and defence strategy.
  • whether the EU can access the capabilities it needs when it needs them, covering such questions as whether the European Defence Agency  is doing enough to strengthen EU capabilities, whether the EU needs a permanent Headquarters to run its operations, and whether the EU’s joint battlegroups are sufficiently ready for action.

The Sub-Committee also asked what lessons can be drawn from recent military activity in Libya in view of criticism about European Forces' capability shortfalls and the potential need for the EU to pick up any gaps left by the US drawing back.

The evidence session took place at 10.05am in Committee Room 2A of the House of Lords.

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