Britain blocks proposal for permanent EU security HQ

July 18, 2011 16:49


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BRUSSELS - Britain blocked a proposal to establish a permanent headquarters for EU defense and security operations, saying it would duplicate NATO structures and be an unnecessary expense.

The proposal for a permanent Operations Headquarters (OHQ), put forward by Catherine Ashton, the British EU high representative for foreign affairs and security and backed by France and other EU states, was discussed at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain had vetoed the idea, which under EU rules would have to be agreed by all 27 member states.

"I have made very clear that the United Kingdom will not agree to such a permanent OHQ. We will not agree to it now, we will not agree to it in the future. That is a red line for us," he told reporters.

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