CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

DEFENCE – EUROPEAN MILITARY FORCE – 18 March 2002

Dr Julian Lewis: Does the Secretary of State recall the advice that his office gave to No. 10's foreign policy adviser that, if an EU-led force goes into Macedonia at this stage,

"the fledgling European Security and Defence Policy mechanism is not ready to undertake an operation of this magnitude and risk".

The advice continues:

"An EU-led operation in Macedonia would not be 'premature' but simply wrong."

I congratulate the Secretary of State on the forthright position that his Department took and remind him that, by contrast, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said:

"if we do look like becoming isolated, we would do better to accept an EU mission".

What was the outcome of that disagreement in view between his Department and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office?