Four countries create elite unit

The Defence Ministries of Portugal, Spain, Italy and Holland have agreed to create a paramilitary force to respond to crisis situations. Portugal’s Defence Minister, Paulo Portas, signed the declaration in Holland after an informal meeting of some of the EU’s Defence Ministers in Noordwijk, Holland. The new paramilitary force, that will be operational by 2005, will contain 3,000 men. Of this unit, 800 will be ready to respond to crises with immediate urgency – the rest will be in reserve. The new European police force will have a rotated command structure – its mission will be to guarantee security during political crises. The squad will contain a rapid reaction force, specially equipped to deal with public order disturbances.