Written by Tania Latici,
Despite the recent turmoil in Britain’s defence establishment, it is in both the European Union and the United Kingdom’s interest to continue to have a deeply interlinked defence partnership.
The 2018 British National Security Capability Review states ‘Europe’s security is our security’. The expected departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union will not alter geography, and the UK will remain a European country. The UK and the countries of the EU share the same strategic environment and, by default, the same threats to their peace and security. Historically, pragmatically and geographically, they remain deeply linked from a security and defence perspective, and there is political consensus on the need to nurture this linkage. Official documents from the British government also confirm this: the UK is exiting the EU, not Europe.
In legal terms, after leaving the EU, the UK will become a third country to the EU and cooperation will continue on that basis. While the EU’s common security and defence policy has an established precedent in cooperating closely with third countries on missions and operations, albeit without providing them with decision-making roles, the EU’s new defence integration initiatives are currently exploring third party cooperation. As the UK played a founding role in developing the EU’s security and defence policy, it is naturally deeply interconnected with the other EU Member States in this area. As one of the EU’s biggest military powers, the UK brings a particularly valuable contribution and know-how to the field.
Both parties have made commitments to ensure as close as possible a partnership in foreign policy, security and defence matters. Can cooperation in the area of security and defence result in a positive post-Brexit tale?
Read the complete Briefing: ‘What role in European defence for a post-Brexit United Kingdom?‘ on the European Parliament Think Tank website.