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In 2003, a EU peacekeeping force was stationed in FYR Macedonia to stabilize the country after a brief civil war in 2001. Signalling a determination to play a more active regional security role, the EU now maintains a multinational standing ‘ready-response’ force of 1,500 soldiers to deal with strategic and humanitarian crises – in Europe, but also in northern and sub-Saharan Africa.

Does the sentence mean that: EU has ready-to-act forces of 1,500 soldiers? If yes, what is the role/meaning of standing here?

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    I'm sure someone will add a detailed answer, but try looking up or googling standing army (an army not fighting, but at the ready to fight at a moment's notice). – Dan Bron Mar 31 '16 at 18:24
  • Yorgun - Use the block quote markup ">" when inserting block quotes. – Adam Mar 31 '16 at 18:46
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As Dan Bron mentioned in the comments, a "standing" force or army is a group that not currently in combat, but that is prepared and ready to fight as soon as is necessary.

Dictionary.com defines "standing" as:

Continuing in operation, force, use, etc.

You can also say that the force of 1,500 soldiers is standing by.

The role of this expression is to emphasize the readiness or preparedness of the force.

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    You might add a definition to your answer - standing: "8. going on regularly without change; lasting; permanent" ⇒ a standing order" – user3169 Mar 31 '16 at 19:00
  • @user3169 Thanks, I added something from Dictionary.com – cccg03 Mar 31 '16 at 19:03
  • @cccg03, sorry to keep hassling you, but you could add the link to dictionary.com to your answer, in addition to copying the relevant section. – JavaLatte Mar 31 '16 at 20:24

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