§ Mr. Spring
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the appointment of the Head of the European Armaments Agency. 
§ Mr. Hoon
The European Union's General Affairs and External Relations Council decided on 17 November last that a new European Agency should be created in the fields of defence capabilities development, research, acquisition and armaments.
The Head of the Agency will be the EU High Representative for European Foreign and Security Affairs, Javier Solana.
It was announced on 29 January that a Ministry of Defence official, Mr. Nick Witney, currently Director General International Security Policy, has been appointed to lead the Agency Establishment Team.
The Government welcome these developments and look forward to the Agency contributing to the strengthening of defence capabilities of the European Security and Defence Policy and Europe's contribution to NATO.