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EU Defence Policy

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he next plans to meet his counterparts in (a) France and (b) other European states regarding the establishment of an autonomous European military capability. [155834]
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Secretary of State meets with the French Defence Minister as well as his other European Defence ministerial colleagues on a regular basis
to discuss the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). This includes at meetings of EU Defence Ministers such as that held by the EU presidency last week in Portugal where, collectively, Ministers met to take forward work on ESDP.

European Defence Agency: Finance

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much the UK has
contributed to the European Defence Agency in each year since 2004. [154240]
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Since the establishment of the European Defence Agency in
July 2004, the UK has contributed:
2004 1,056,536.14
2005 2,362,015.50
2006 2,093,545.88
2007 1,954,567.49

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects UK forces
to leave Iraq completely. [156084]
Des Browne: As the Prime Minister announced on 8 October, the number of British forces based in southern Iraq will reduce to around 4,500 by the end of the year. Our forces continue to have important work to do helping the Iraqi security forces further develop the capacity and capability to take over responsibility for the security of their own people. We keep force levels under constant review and will continue to make reductions as and when conditions on the ground allow. It is therefore wrong to set an arbitrary date for British forces to leave Iraq.

Military Exercises

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many urban warfare
exercises have been conducted in each year since 2001. [154232]
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The information is not held in the format requested as all three services conduct urban warfare exercises at varying scales.
Land units are mandated to conduct urban training throughout the training cycle.
However, urban training does not take place in isolation but is integrated into
wider exercises. Training may involve low level activity focusing solely upon
the urban environment or as part of wider collective training. The intensity of
this urban training differs according to time and exercise area. By way of
example, for the period September 2006 to September 2007(1), the Copehill Down
Urban Training Village on Salisbury Plain was used for 296 days of urban
training. Both the RN and RAF also conduct urban warfare exercises but at a much smaller scale. Since 2001 the annual programme for Commando Training Centre Royal Marines has routinely included urban warfare exercises, specifically 22 for Recruit Training, five for the All Arms Commando Course and two for Young Officer Courses, making a total of 29 annually. For the RAF, 14 urban warfare exercises were conducted in each year in the period 2001-03, rising to 18 annually thereafter. The individual training programme also includes urban training, though to varying degrees dependent upon the assessed need. By way of example, training at both the Infantry Battle School and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst routinely incorporates urban exercises as part of their courses.Urban training is extensively practised within Pre Deployment Training for current operations, and incorporated into all unit training packages for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The exact emphasis upon urban operations is driven by the role of the unit concerned.
(1) Records for the amount of urban training across the entire Defence Estate are not held.

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what financial
contribution has been made by the Government of Bermuda towards the cost of the
Royal Navy’s deployment in Bermuda’s territorial water

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