CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

PRIME MINISTER – EU RAPID REACTION FORCE – 7 February 2001

Dr Julian Lewis: If he will make a statement on the military advantages of a European rapid reaction force outside the NATO structure?

[The Prime Minister: I have already made the position clear.]

[SUPPLEMENTARY:] For the sake of those who might find that answer obscure even by the Prime Minister's standards, the question was what are the advantages of having a European rapid reaction force outside the NATO structure.

Does the Prime Minister accept that the first world war certainly, and the second world war arguably, grew out of crises that escalated out of control without the Americans being involved? Does he also accept that the great achievement of NATO was to guarantee American involvement? If he does accept that, how can he possibly justify creating such dangerous arrangements, which would pave the way for conflicts in which the Americans would not be involved on the side of the European states?