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Informal Meeting of the Defence Ministers of the EU Press Release: Brussels (28-02-2000) 


The Defence Ministers of the European Community met informally, in Sintra, on the 28th February 2000. The aim of this meeting was to examine, according to the decision made in the Helsinki European Council (10 -11 December 1999), the progress attained, regarding the implementation of the necessary means to provide Europe with the defence capacity and common security. Therefore, the Ministers went through the paperwork again and made na assessment of the steps already taken during the current Portuguese Presidency, regarding the necessary means and structures, so that the European Union countries may begin the preparation of future European Security and Defence procedures. In order to do so, the Ministers agreed that as from the 1st March 2000, the temporary structures that will prepare the future European Military Committee and European Military Major Staff, may start to operate in the Council Building (Justus Lipsius), in Brussels. These organs, together with the Security and Politics Committee, will allow the European Union to adopt the necessary political strategy in order to orientate standard operations as "Petersberg". Bearing in mind the aim set up in Helsinki, according to which the Member States will co-operate, of their free will, until 2003, to the creation of a force of approximately 50.000 to 60.000 men, the Ministers agreed upon a programme leading to a Force Generation Conference, which will be held, probably, till the end of 2000. The Ministers also engaged themselves to appoint, at short term, the national representatives in the interim military structures, so that they can start their works as from the next March.