Bridging the Channel: How Europeans and the UK Can Work Together on Defence Capability Development

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Publication Date October 2021
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In the years since the Brexit referendum, the UK has not shown much interest in working with the EU on defence capability development. London is unhappy with the terms and conditions that the EU offers third countries that want to participate in the Union’s defence industrial programmes, and UK officials are sceptical that the EU will become a significant defence actor. At the same time, London wants to continue to work with individual European partners to develop arms jointly. The UK cannot afford to produce a complete range of weapon systems domestically and, as the smaller partner in co-operation projects with the United States, it risks losing out. EU member-states also want to continue working individually with the UK, which has more money and stronger defence firms than most other European states.

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House of Lords Library: In Focus: March 2021: UK Bilateral Defence Cooperation
EPRS Briefing: Sept. 2021: ‘Global Britain’ and ‘Europe of Defence’: Prospects, challenges and opportunities

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