The UK Government has confirmed it has offered to contribute military assets to EU operations, cooperate on sanctions and agree joint positions on foreign policy as part of a ‘deep security partnership’ with the EU after Brexit.

In what the government are calling ‘a renewed demonstration of the UK’s commitment to European security’, the latest partnership paper signals their willingness to partner with the EU on defence matters.

According to the UK Government:

“It makes clear the UK will seek to use our assets, capabilities and influence to combat the shared challenges facing the continent —- including illegal migration, terrorism, cyber and state-based threats and amounts to a security partnership ‘that is deeper than any other third country and that reflects our shared interest’.

There is a significant amount of collaboration between the UK and EU on defence, security and development already.”

The paper lays out how the government want to build a new partnership with the EU that ‘goes beyond existing third country arrangements’.

Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis said:

“After we leave the European Union we will continue to face shared threats to our security, our shared values and our way of life. It’s in our mutual interest to work closely with the EU and its member states to challenge terrorism and extremism, illegal migration, cyber-crime, and conventional state-based military aggression.

Today’s paper highlights Britain’s world class diplomacy and defence capabilities, our leading contribution to international development, and our desire to continue to use these as part of a deep and special partnership with the EU.”

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

“As we leave the EU, the UK’s commitment to European security is undiminished. We will pursue a global foreign policy, and continue to work in partnership with our neighbours to promote peace, democracy and security in our continent and across the world.

In recent years, the European Union has helped achieve crucial foreign policy goals – from bringing Iran to the negotiating table, to uniting in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine. We want this EU role to continue after we leave.

This is why, in addition to stronger relations with EU member states, we also envisage a strong UK-EU partnership on foreign and defence policy following our departure. This will allow us to continue our work in tackling the shared challenges we face worldwide.”

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

“At a time of increased threats and international instability the UK remains unwavering in its commitment to uphold European security. With the largest defence budget in Europe, the largest Navy British troops and planes deployed across land, air and sea in Europe, our role in the continent’s defence has never been more vital.

As we leave the EU, the UK and our European allies will ensure a close partnership that meets these shared challenges head-on.”

The paper highlights the UK’s military cooperation with the EU on tackling piracy off the Horn of Africa, to joint defence projects — including the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

The UK has the largest defence budget in Europe, and is the only European country that meets both the NATO target of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence, with 20 per cent of this on equipment, and the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of gross national income (GNI) on international development.

Read the UK Government paper on Foreign policy, defence and development here.

38 COMMENTS

    • We’ve had joint agreements with various European armed forces since the war. Who said anything about undermining NATO?

      • Geoff, all of Europe and it’s dog knows that when the EU became a military alliance in 2007 it was with a view of undermining NATO.

        Europe doesn’t need and cannot afford to have 2 x military mega-bureaucracies vying for scant resources!

  1. Dear George and team,

    Excellent website and a very useful resource for information, presented in a very usable way. Thank you! We would also like to congratulate you for your efforts on social media to correct the misinformation so prevalent about our military.

    Just one little beef if we may? We appreciate that you may not exactly be pro-Brexit, but might it not be reasonable to draw your readers’ attentions to the fact that the government paper you are writing about has caused an uproar in some circles? Or at least to mention that it has been warmly welcomed by the likes of Guy Verhofstadt, Chief Brexit Coordinator of the EU Parliament, but has been less appreciated (to put it mildly) by some UK veterans groups?

    By simply using the government’s press release you are already taking a political position in not adding that it has ’caused significant controversy’, or something similar.

    Clearly we ourselves have very strong views about this government paper and the relevant facts are available for all to read on our website, so we won’t go into any detail here. We just wanted to make the point that this paper is very unwelcome amongst many people who have an interest in the defence of the nation.

    Anyway, aside from this little beef, you’re doing a splendid job, thank you.

    Best wishes, the Facts4EU.Org Team

    • What veterans group? We’ve had this on here before, if you’re talking about the veterans group that was set up just before the referendum with the strict aim of a leave vote then how would that be impartial?

      What a silly contribution, begging the author to write “it caused some uproar” that would be the case if it’s actually causing uproar. How embarrassing.

      Anybody that is against this is so off the mark on how Britain has always operated in Europe. Do you actually think we are going to go against 300 years of policy and just turn a complete blind eye to a European military alliance on our doorstep.

      I voted leave but not because I hate Europe, and not because I don’t want us to be involved.

      We voted leave and that’s that, let us leave the EU and build a positive relationship with them, we’re talking about France, Portugal, Belgium and Holland, they have been some of our most important and reliable military allies.

      How on earth would contributing to an alliance with Germany and France be a bad thing.

      You certainly don’t talk for this leave voter, I support full intergration of any European military alliance, anything else would be foolish considering our geographical location and taking into the account the nations that make up the EU it’s a complet no brainier.

      • That’s a fairly emotional response, Kieran, and we’re not sure why you focus straight in on a veterans’ group when the main point was about the government’s Brexit paper on defence, and its content.

        Clearly you and we will never agree, but we’re unsure why you think we’re ignorant. We don’t make that assumption of you, merely that you may not be aware of all the latest developements, or that if you are aware then you see things through a very different prism for some reason.

        Anyway, we made the point that this paper is controversial, so we’ll leave it for readers to look at it, and at reactions to it, and decide for themselves.

        • Yeah we will, and yes it is quite an emotive response because I find it disingenuous to say “veterans groups” when me and you both know the sole group we are talking about is veterans for Britain, A highly political, pro US, group of veterans only formed for the EU referendum. Of course they are going to be against this paper.

          What you’re asking is like a newspaper reporting a 3-0 Man Utd win but then saying it has caused uproar in some circles because a Man City supporters group are unhappy about it. It’s just not the way things are done I’m afraid and you coming on here asking for that is really demeaning.

          What you should be doing is coming on here debating with people like myself and others to try change our minds about this, I was remain up until two weeks before the vote and it was only through debate, that then made me research some more and I changed my mind.

          You’re just skipping the debating and trying to change media outlet articles to influence readers, that’s really poor form.

          • Oh dear. We write a post about a government paper which we happen to think is extremely important, and you keep harping on about one reference we made about veterans and then being aggressive towards us again.

            We think ‘poor form’ is being hostile for no reason, but there you go.

            If you want to inform yourself more then there are plenty of articles on our site about this subject. The conversation with you must now close.

      • “How on earth would contributing to an alliance with Germany and France be a bad thing.”

        If only there was an organisation, an organisation by treaty comprising of the nations of the North Atlantic?
        They might meet in Brussels and act in each others mutual defence.

        Alas Kieran, it seems no such treaty of North Atlantic countries exists eh!

  2. It makes perfect sense to maintain close defence links with our European neighbours. I mean why wouldn’t we ?
    France and Britain are Europe’s two leading military powers and we need to continue our cooperation which has been built on in recent years.
    Recently HMS Albion visited the Netherlands & British and Dutch marines, who have close links to begin with are planning a series of joint amphibious training excercises over the next few years.
    Surely that’s all good ?

    • Wasn’t the UK already in defence partnership via NATO?

      What does the UK have to contribute to the EU military alliance that cannot be done via NATO?

      • @Joe. Well quite a lot, and it doesn’t matter frankly whether assets are badged EU or Nato right now, the sad fact is that there are not enough of them. Anything that helps Europe improve its defence capabilities is to be welcomed

  3. Sounds like good news. It was pretty obvious that we would not be abandoning Europe on the defense front. Most things defense wise will remain the same post-brexit with the exception of us not getting any deeper in to the EU army initiative.

  4. It’s good that we maintain the those links. But if the European Union continues their self destructive pathological need to ‘punish’ the UK for daring to leave, then we mustn’t hesitate to use that support as leverage, and if nessecery recall our support. Why should we support the defense and security of the EU when they actively try to destroy our trade and prosperity?

    • Could not agree more. Why should the UK be only the party to concede any ground in the negotiations? If they play ball then continue close cooperation but if they play funny buggers then withhold that support.

        • It is kind of like how the US still stations alot of military assets in Europe even though European nations dont contribute a great deal towards it. This is because if Europe fell to the Russians the US would have to get involved anyway to guarantee its own security, therefore it is better to forward deploy assets so it can be there at the beginning rather than after the fact. Kinda like a WW2 scenario.

    • For what it’s worth I don’t believe they are actively seeking to destroy our prosperity. The EU and Germany especially is committed to the concept of community and acceptance of the need to make sacrifices for the common good and will act in defence of this principle. If it means VW and BMW profits fall because their products go out of fashion or become unaffordable in the UK then so be it. We must be careful not to demonise the EU. That way lies suspicion and conflict.

  5. A deep and meaningful security relationship with the EU. That will be NATO then in other words. The EU is a sad late comer to European security and mutual defence, only now being voiced by Junkers and all his champagne sipping cronies as a viable defensive union.
    sorry Junkers, not an original thought, NATO came first and has precedence and viability. EU has neither.

  6. Nothing should be done to undermine NATO. The cornerstone of our defence for 70 years

    Through that organisation we can share our defence and security with European allies and friends.

    The move towards a unified European state and that entails is one of the main reasons we are leaving the EU, a EU military structure is unnecessary and therefore the UK should not get involved in it.

    I think it is right the UK is leaving the EU given the direction of travel of that organisation towards a federal state.

  7. Given Mr Trump’s seemingly ambivalent attitude to NATO and the EU’s federalist EU armed forces and foreign policy ambitions I think this statement is very constructive. The UK still wields significant diplomatic influence wisely, and the more we can back this with military strength the better. Brexit Britain could hold the key as it has done before to keeping the west together in the face of negative forces.

    • @David. Okay. Economic cooperation helps defence security. Always has. post 1945 that was the fundamental reason behind the ECSC, and then the EEC with the 1957 Treaty of Rome in the first place.

      And the EU is contributing to our security now and will be when we leave (in our self-inflicted stupidity of Brexit) by creating a strategic E European buffer to possible future Russian bounce back. Either the countries of Eastern Europe fall in Moscow’s orbit – or that of Berlin. That is one of the defining lessons of European history. Allowing them into the EU gives them clear economic motives for staying with the West.

      Some may not care if Russia comes to dominate E Europe again – but in the absence of the EU, that is a possible outcome. The defence of the UK does not start on the Channel. Best Tim

  8. I’m glad it’s mostly smart and sensible comments here regarding this.

    Quite a few people are asking what’s the point if we already have NATO, the answer is the US, they consistently make bad foreign policy decisions, Libya and Syria to name just a few, that are actually hurting Europe, and that has made some European leaders think that perhaps they should be in charge of there own security and detach themselves from Washington.

    NATO was started as a mutual defence organisation, now we get involved military and we have patrols and joint units etc. NATO expansion to Russia’s borders has done nothing but bring a dark cloud over Eastern Europe where as a few years before the Russian Foreign minister openly talked about joining NATO, now we have pushed them into the arms of China.

    As a country like Germany becomes more powerful economically and militarily, they are not going to want to rely on America forever. Just earlier in the year the German parliament voted in favour of changing the law, allowing Germany to contribute financially towards another countries Nuclear weapons program as long as they then fall under than umbrella. So don’t be surprised to see a Europe wide nuclear deterrent in the near future.

    We are different because we have a different relationship with the US, we’re a lot closer in foreign policy terms and share some of the same goals.

    So where does that leave us, in 30 years time we have the worlds second biggest military in the UE, they are still in NATO as it’s a mutual defence agreement but in terms of everything else they are their own beast, a mighty one at that with a Europe wide nuclear umbrella, in total control of all of mainland Europe’s security, do you really want us to have absolute no say in that, to be a strong partner, a very close friend and ally. Because that doesn’t sound like the Britain of the last 300 years, anything but.

    There is absolutely no question that it’s the right thing to do. It’s in our best interests without a shadow of a doubt.

    • Europe trying to play Athens to Americas Sparta has only one ending. The US has viewed Europe as a clear and present danger instead of Russia before. It can do so again. That is the only result in the EU forming a military alliance. Being seen as a threat greater than the Russian Federation. Considering the foreign policy behavior of many of the European states. It would be inevitable. From their behavior over Vietnam to Israel to the Korea to the Middle East and South America and numerous other places. European opposition and vilification of America and Americas allies has been tolerated.

      NATO expansion to the east was done nearly simultaneously with expansion to the EU the Russians would have been pissed regardless. It has been their sphere of influence for 300yrs. Or are you saying the Poles and Romanians didn’t have self determination.

      • What ending is that then Elliot? Please tell me how you think it’s going to end.

        What would be inevitable? You constantly talk in riddles when you’re talking about geopolitics.

        America is not going to do a god damn thing about it because it can’t, Western Europe isn’t the Middle East or Africa, you don’t have a single say in the direction we go, all you can do is try to have an influence as an important ally, we’re talking about states that existed a thousand years before America was even an idea, have some respect.

        You’re absolutely drunk with American power, you sound like such an idiot

        “Europe trying to play Athens to Americas Sparta has only one ending.”

        😂 What?

        You won’t do anything about us, just like you won’t do anything about China either, they have a stronger economy that you now, in the next 20 years their economy will be larger in total and you’re not going to do a damn thing about it, empires don’t last forever.

      • “European opposition and vilification of America and Americas allies has been tolerated”

        Tolerated? What would happen then if you stop tolerating it? I’m intrigued here, what would you do to get Britain to back every American foreign military policy?

  9. I am not drunk with American power. Unlike you I have seen it up close and personal. Just as I have felt the effects of European betrayal of the United States. Despite large sacrifices on their behalf in equipment, lives, and time. Europe has been shielded from the effects of its moral proselytizing to the US and its allies. Not to mention Russia and the Middle East for to long.
    Has the US withdrawn its men over Vietnam, South and Latin America, and the Middle East. Despite European nations howling like a stuck pig over every and one of those, presuming they had the right to dictate to the US. That they knew what was best for those barbarians they brought across the sea to do the dying for them. How dare Americans have a different policy than Europe. In those circumstances which the last 60yrs are replete with there is absolutely no reason why for the United States and Her other allies, to not set themselves against Europe just as thoroughly as Russia.

  10. No just pointing out how euro trash thinks of us. We are not their hired help. And we should not be subsidizing Europe for the privilege of dying for them and the added benefit of hearing their constant criticism.

  11. Some of our EU allies (although I prefer to think of these nations as NATO allies) do contribute towards our defence such as the French and Spanish contributing MPA aircraft to cover our capability gaps.
    The EU however as a institution does nothing for the uk other than restrict sovereign rule, democracy and take our taxes, whilst giving sod all back. The negotiations are proceedding as I knew they would. Huge exit bill, we are not willing to pay. Started demands with a £120 billion bill, now EU is asking for £60 billion.
    Answer is simple, no sod off! UK is one of only 3 countries that has consistently paid into the corrupt EU more than we got out. That is fact, the EU are like spoilt children demanding their sweats off an adult whilst no behaving well themselves. Give the UK a free trade deal without bias and we will pay a one off contribution towards what we as a nation have already signed upto as a commitment before Brexit. That equates to £10-17 billion, no trade deal, no money. Simple really.
    as for defence, well we should invest in our own armed forces, to guarantee our own defence. Put defence budget back up to 3-4% gdp/ defence ratio. Use the money we would be paying Junkers and the champagne sipping, back slapping EU to buy frigates, LPH and anti ship missiles + a big order for F35Bs. David Davis just needs to stick to his task it will not be a disaster if we have a no deal scenario, it will reflect worse on the EU and show just how niaeve and belligerent towards us our so called friends and allies really are.

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