What now for UK-France confidence relations?

Theresa May and Emmanuel MacronImage copyright

RAF helicopters to Mali, French infantry to Estonia, perspective chiefs pity intelligence. When it comes to counterclaim and security, a Anglo-French entente cordiale has frequency been closer as their domestic leaders accommodate for their annual summit.

Building on a Lancaster House agreement of 2010 between a dual countries’ afterwards leaders, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy, a landmark limit is now being hold between Theresa May and President Macron of France.

With a UK’s appearing depart from a EU, Brexit, trade and emigration will fundamentally underline in their discussions.

The French boss has been pulling for Britain to accept some-more migrants from Calais and to compensate some-more towards a maintain of a dual countries’ corner Channel limit controls.

Historically, this annual limit has always been about confidence and this year is no exception.

The stability hazard from a Islamic State group, a conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and West Africa, Russia’s actions in a Baltics and Ukraine and a presentation of transatlantic differences over certain pivotal issues such as Iran, are all reminders of a need to seaside adult common ties between London and Paris, forward of Brexit.

Britain might be withdrawal a EU though it will sojourn a heavyweight partner for France when it comes to confidence issues.

French domestic researcher Dominique Moisi says: “We are tighten allies and we are rivals – and precisely given a UK is withdrawal a EU we might be even some-more rivals.

“But a general context army us to come closer to conflict terrorism given of a opening left by a US.”

So, what are a counterclaim and confidence issues adult for contention during Sandhurst?


Britain and France have an impossibly tighten partnership in opposed a common hazard of militant attacks desirous or destined by supposed Islamic State.

So close, in fact, that this is a initial ever assembly of “The Quint” – a heads of all 5 British and French perspective agencies, both domestic and foreign. They will be discussing, among other things, a lessons learnt from final year’s apprehension attacks in Manchester, Barcelona and London.

There is a permanent ‘open door’ for French comprehension officers who need to revisit MI5 domicile during Thames House in London and a identical arrangement exists for British box officers visiting France’s equivalent, a Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure (DGSI). MI5 officers were rushed to Paris in a arise of a 2015 Bataclan conflict to assistance follow adult comprehension leads and reap any probable lessons.

As good as common links like this, a primary resource for pity comprehension between European partners is a Counter Terrorism Group (CTG). Heads of European agencies accommodate during slightest once a year, their subordinates some-more often.

The regard over Brexit has prolonged been a risk that Britain could be denied entrance to certain EU bodies, such as Europol. In fact, contend insiders, a business of counter-terrorism is expected to continue as usual.

Sir Julian King, EU Security Commissioner in Brussels, told me in Oct that a militant hazard confronting all of Europe was so good that nobody wanted to take any risks by shortening counter-terrorism team-work with London. Theresa May, who was Home Secretary for 6 years until she became PM in 2016, will be penetrating to see this intelligence-sharing with Paris confirmed and even increased.

Lord Peter Ricketts, who was both inhabitant confidence confidant and afterwards UK envoy to Paris until 2016, says Anglo-French co-operation has softened dramatically given 2000.

“From what we saw as envoy in Paris, a dual counter-terrorism communities and law coercion communities are now anticipating they’ve got things to learn from any other so it is not scarcely as polarised as it was 15 years ago,” he said.


Despite new UK counterclaim cuts, Britain and France sojourn distant forward of other European nations when it comes to deploying quarrel army overseas.

In Mali and other Saharan nations, French army have been battling a jihadist rebellion for 5 years. They’ve asked for British help, and now they are about to get it.

Britain is to send 3 RAF Chinook ride helicopters to support a French operation in Mali, along with 50-60 support staff.

French domestic researcher Dominique Moisi says: “France wants to share shortcoming with other European powers, convincing them that a Sahel is apropos a primary design in a quarrel opposite terrorism, as it is decrease in Syria and Iraq after a better opposite ISIS.”

As if by approach of return, France is to send infantry to join a UK-led conflict organisation in Estonia where 800 British soldiers are assisting to ensure Nato’s eastern side with Russia.

This is all partial of a flourishing infantry fondness between Europe’s usually dual chief powers and permanent members of a UN Security Council.

The dual nations are operative on a corner Unmanned Aerial System for destiny drones. A French Brigadier was put in assign of a UK multiplication for dual months while a British Army Brigadier did a same in France. Joint exercises are being hold with a perspective to building adult a total involvement force of 10,000 infantry by 2020.

There is a fashion for that, that did not finish well: Libya.

The Nato atmosphere debate in 2011 was primarily successful, pushing behind a army of Colonel Gaddafi that threatened to electrocute a residents of Benghazi. Mr Cameron and Mr Sarkozy were quickly feted as saviours of that North African nation.

Thereafter Libya run-down into chaos, and Western nations were demure to get drawn into any kind of function purpose after a knowledge in Iraq. So a end-result of any destiny interventions, either in a Middle East, Asia or Africa, will need to be really delicately suspicion out.


The cross-channel co-operation on domestic counter-terrorism is matched to some border by a links between MI6 and a French counterpart, a DGSE.

The UK’s closest intelligence-gathering partner stays a US though it also has clever common arrangements with France, Germany, Spain and other European nations’ agencies.

A former British comprehension officer says that aged Anglo-French rivalries abroad had given approach to common goals.

He pronounced there was a common enterprise for Britain’s expertise, such as in cyber, to sojourn permitted to European agencies after Brexit, effectively ring-fencing comprehension and counter-terrorism from ongoing arguments in other areas such as trade and migration.

There is Brexit, says a Whitehall insider, and afterwards there is security.

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