§ 28. Caroline Flint
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on progress towards restructuring of the European defence industry. 
§ Mr. Spellar
The Government are keen to play their part in maintaining the impetus on this important initiative. To this end, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence met his counterparts from France, Germany, Italy and Spain on 20 April in order to discuss their common interest in restructuring the European defence industry. A joint statement was issued, in which ministers agreed to take action in five key areas: security of supply; export procedures; research and development funding; security of information and personnel clearances; and intellectual property rights. A letter of intent spelling out the objectives and principles for handling these issues and the timetable for the tasks involved is planned to be approved in June 1998.