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.