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The UK Government has offered to contribute military assets to European Union (EU) operations, cooperate on sanctions and agree joint positions on foreign policy as part of what it calls a deep security partnership with the EU after Brexit.
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.”
You can read the future partnership paper on Foreign policy, defence and development at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foreign-policy-defence-and-development-a-future-partnership-paper.
Trade bodies in the defence and security sector have welcomed the announcement. The defence, security and aerospace trade body ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said: “The UK and the EU share deep common interests in defence and security, and it is vital that we continue to work closely with our European partners after Brexit.
“Our defence and security sectors are the biggest in Europe and make a substantial contribution both to our safety and our economic prosperity.
“These sectors achieved more than £10bn in exports last year and like all the UK’s major industries need to continue enjoying access to the customers, suppliers and R&D programmes that support their global competitiveness.
“The Government’s recognition of the importance of defence, security and space sector exports is welcome – though our sectors and others will welcome early clarity on the details of transitional arrangements to take effect in March 2019.
“While there remains relatively little time to agree a final deal between the UK and the EU, today’s paper sets out a positive approach.”
ADS recently reckoned the defence industry to be worth an annual £23bn to the UK economy, with nearly £6bn of exports, while the security sector is worth an additional £12bn, with more than £4bn of exports.
And Oliver Welch, Head of Defence, Security and Industrial Policy at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said: “The Government’s plan to maintain a close defence and security relationship with the EU beyond 2019 is welcome news for industry. The success of multi-national equipment programmes such as Eurofighter Typhoon, designed and built in partnership with EU allies, are not only vital to our national security but also make a major contribution to the economy.
“Industry has been seeking reassurance about such programmes beyond the UK’s exit from the EU and our proposed continued participation in them, including access to European research and development initiatives in this sector, must remain part of the Government’s Brexit plans.”