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Ministers Gather for Summit as Prime Minister Asserts ‘Staunch Commitment’ to European Security

Anglo French Summit to discuss future of security

Ministers are joining Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak in Paris for a vital Anglo-French summit to agree new plans to tackle security concerns.

UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak and French President, Emmanuel Macron are expected to agree new approaches to challenges including migration, energy security and the threat from Russia.

The Prime Minister, President Macron and British and French Cabinet ministers will gather in Paris today for the UK-France Summit. Talks will focus on fortifying our partnership to tackle shared challenges including stopping small boats, securing our domestic energy supplies and protecting our people against the threat from Russia and elsewhere.

At the first bilateral summit of British and French leaders since the coronavirus pandemic and Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Prime Minister and President Macron will discuss how to transform our deep and historic alliance so we are fully equipped to tackle the threats of the future.

A new ‘Entente Cordial’

Over the past decade, the UK and France have routinely been NATO’s first and second biggest European contributors. The UK and France are the only European allies to be permanent members of the UN Security Council and the only nuclear powers in the region. Ahead of the conference, the UK Government has stressed that the UK and France have a responsibility to work together to guarantee Europe’s security.

Since 2010, the expansive defence partnership between the UK and France has been driven by the agreements made in the Lancaster House Treaties, treaties which established France as the UK’s closest defence and security partner other than the United States.

Under the Lancaster House treaties the UK and France established the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF), which sees more than 10,000 British and French personnel ready to deploy together in response to a crisis. The CJEF sits alongside the UK’s other alliances in Europe, including the Joint Expeditionary Force of northern European nations and NATO – all tangible demonstrations of the UK’s commitment to uphold the continent’s security and prosperity.

Essential partnership

The UK will further that commitment next year by hosting the fourth gathering of the European Political Community – a meeting of likeminded European leaders with shared values to co-ordinate on some of the most pressing geopolitical issues.

Commenting on the meeting, the Prime Minister said:

“Our deep history, our proximity and our shared global outlook mean that a firm partnership between the UK and France is not just valuable, it is essential.

“From tackling the scourge of illegal migration to driving investment in one another’s economies the work we do together improves the lives of each and every person in our countries. Beyond that, the UK and France also have a privileged role as defenders of European and global security.”

Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister, United Kingdom

“As we face new and unprecedented threats, it is vital that we fortify the structures of our alliance so we are ready to take on the challenges of the future. That is what we will do at the UK-France Summit today.”

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Combatting Russian aggression

Russia’s actions pose the biggest threat to European, and global, security. The Prime Minister and President Macron will hold discussions today on strengthening NATO to protect our people as well as bolstering Ukraine’s self-defence, both now and in the long-term.

As part of their talks, the Prime Minister and President Macron are expected to agree to further enhance UK-France military interoperability and industrial cooperation, including agreeing to scope the co-development of next-generation deep precision strike weaponry – the kind of long-range capability which NATO needs to protect against the growing threat from Russia.

To support Ukraine in their struggle for their sovereignty, the Prime Minister and President Macron are also expected to agree to further coordinate both the supply of weapons to Ukraine and the training of Ukrainian Marines. The UK has already trained 11,000 troops since last summer, and we recently expanded our training to include Ukrainian pilots. Bolstering these efforts through further joint UK and French training could see thousands more Ukrainians brought to battlefield readiness.

The Prime Minister and President Macron will also discuss the role that NATO members can play in providing Ukraine with the security assurances they need to defend themselves in the long-term. . This includes establishing the backbone to a permanent European maritime presence in the Indo-Pacific through the sequencing of more persistent European carrier strike group presence – co-ordinating the deployment of France’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, and the UK’s Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales carriers

Alongside discussions on deepening the defence partnership between our countries, the leaders will also look at ways to transform our cooperation on issues including tackling illegal migration. This will build on the agreements made in 2022 to make the small boat route across the Channel unviable, save lives and dismantle organised crime groups while preventing illegal migration further upstream. Last year our partnership with the French stopped more than 30,500 illegal crossings – nearly twice as many as in 2022

Final thought

This is the first summit of this level between the UK and France. The two men are cut from the same cloth, they should get on well with each other. Since the relationship reset with the EU and the famous “Dear Rishi” comment by the President of the European Commission, relations have certainly thawed.

It is now the responsibility of all parties to come together to agree common areas of mutual collaboration and commit to solving some of the major challenges of our time

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