The UK-France defence and security relationship: How to improve cooperation. Report of the UK-France Taskforce, November 2018

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Publication Date November 2018
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The Policy Institute of King's College London worked with French think tank Institut Montaigne to assess the health of the UK-France defence and security relationship and made recommendations for how to improve cooperation between the two countries published in November 2018 in the report The UK-France defence and security relationship: How to improve cooperation.

To do so, the two organisations established a taskforce comprised of 20 top-level French and British defence and security experts and conducted interviews with current and former British and French officials from the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office, the Foreign Office, diplomatic missions, Parliament, intelligence services and business leaders.

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The taskforce concluded that while UK-France cooperation on defence and security had never been so valuable, it had also never been so fragile. It made the following recommendations:

1. Tackle the security challenges raised by Brexit

+ Ensure that Brexit does not endanger security cooperation between the UK and the EU27.
+ Maintain border cooperation agreements.

2. Ensure the full implementation of the Lancaster House Treaties

+ Reinforce strategic dialogue and mutual knowledge through the creation of an annual UK-France Defence and Security Council and a more regular '2+2' dialogue.
+ Prepare the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force for operations.
+ Increase cooperation through shared training facilities and cooperation on maintenance of equipment.

3. Prepare for the future

+ Build Future Combat Air System capacity.
+ Increase cyber security cooperation by developing formalised and structured modes of cooperation, complementing the Lancaster House Treaties with a cyber security pillar and establishing a joint government taskforce to explore options for further cooperation.
+ Formulate a joint strategic vision to inform R&D planning.
+ Implement a formal intelligence framework between France and the UK.
+ Deepen joint defence engagement activities.
+ Use and strengthen officer exchange programmes.

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Related Links
Carnegie Europe: Strategic Europe, 18.01.18: The Ambiguities of Franco-British Defense Cooperation (et al)
The Guardian, 08.11.18: [Opinion]: The UK-France alliance is crucial to Europe’s security. Brexit must not threaten it
RUSI: Briefing Paper, 15.01.18: National Security Relations with France after Brexit
BBC News, 08.11.18: Brexit: Jeremy Hunt to hail 'bond of friendship' with France
United Kingdom: Prime Minister's Office: Press Release, 24.10.18: Prime Minister hails new era of Dutch-UK security cooperation post-Brexit

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