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EDITIONS
Euro-glossary Monday, 30 April, 2001, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Rapid reaction force
British UN peacekeeper in Bosnia
Conflict in the Balkans sparked moves for an EU force
Steps are being taken to create a European force of 60,000 troops, with supporting air and naval assets.

Often called the Euro-army it is designed to allow Europe to mount its own military operations, after decades of reliance on Nato and the United States.

The force, which planners aim to have ready by 2003, will be capable of being deployed at 60 days' notice, and sustained for a year.

Its tasks, according to the Treaty of Nice, will include "humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping tasks and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking".

The force is designed to complement rather than compete with Nato, and will only act when Nato has decided not to get involved.

The Bush administration has voiced its support for the force, saying it will strengthen the Nato alliance.

The RRF will not be a standing army, but will be made up of contributions from member states.

Britain, France and Germany are all expected to make significant contributions.

The push for the new force was led by Britain and France, and it will have its permanent headquarters in Brussels.

See also:

20 Mar 01 | Euro-glossary
20 Nov 00 | Europe
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