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Despite Brexit, UK and France should remain the Strong Arm of Europe

Par Prime Minister's Office —, OGL v1.0,

The Uk-France alliance on defence is crucial to Europe's security. Today, this alliance can be described as solid and strong. But for how much longer? The military agreements on defence between these two countries mainly result from the Lancaster House treaties signed on 2 November 2010. Yet, the future Brexit could represent a real danger for the alliance and consequently weaken the whole European Union (EU).In Europe the UK and France are the two only countries capable to project their armed forces into external theaters of operations. Brits and French troops fought side by side in Kosovo (1999) and Libya (2011). And they are the only two countries on the Continent with nuclear powers. France has approximately 300 nuclear warheads and the UK has 215 (Re.IISS & SIPRI). Their defence budget were similar during the period 2015-2016: US$ 52.5 billion in the UK and US$ 47.2 billion in France (Re.IISS). Today it is estimated that the UK has the world's fifth defence budget, spending less on defence than France (Re.G.Williamson). But above all, military experts agree that British and French armies have achieved a high level of interoperability. The rise of China that has considerably strengthened its military capabilities, the destabilizing actions of Russia, but also the US new foreign and security policy will force European governments to increase their defence spending. However, defence is not a competence of the EU. It is the responsibility of each individual Member State. Britain will one day leave the EU. It is therefore important that the UK and France continue to co-operate closely, particularly with respect to defence and security issues.

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