The EU, the largest humanitarian donor to Iraq, has set aside Eur 15 million ($15 million) to pay for emergency assistance if war begins.

‘If it comes to war, it will be very much easier to persuade you, the EU budgetary authority, to be generous if there is no dispute about the legitimacy of the military action that has taken place; about the new political order that emerges thereafter, or about who is in charge of the reconstruction process,’ Patten told members of the assembly.

Patten was a member of the UK conservative government until 1992 and the last governor of Hong Kong which was returned to China in 1997.