to ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to join the Western European Armaments Group; and what assessment he has made of the advantages membership would create for Britain. 
§ Mr. Freeman
[holding answer 3 April 1995]: The title of the Western European Armaments Group was adopted following the transfer of the functions of the former Independent European Programme Group to the Western European Union in December 1992. The United Kingdom has been a member of the group since its establishment in 1976. The group is the main forum for European co-operation in research, development and production of defence equipment and our membership allows us to participate in the development of the European defence equipment market.