Rebooting the Entente: An Agenda for Renewed UK-France Defense Cooperation Briefings de l’Ifri, February 22, 2023
The Franco-British Summit on March 10th, 2023, will mark a much-needed reset in bilateral cooperation, following years of strained relations. With a recently re-elected French president and a new British Prime minister, both sides are committed to making this summit a success and re-launching a positive agenda for bilateral cooperation. The summit, the first since Sandhurst in 2018, will focus on three key topics: migration, energy, and foreign policy. Defense cooperation will also be addressed, as it remains the cornerstone of the bilateral relationship, though it may take a less prominent part than on previous occasions.
Several concrete topics for joint work should therefore be discussed and agreed, from strategic discussions on European security frameworks to joint operational deployments and capability projects. It is crucial to ensure that the symbolic reset of the bilateral relationship at the summit leads to a realistic yet ambitious defense roadmap, with concrete commitments and deliverables.
- As the Franco-British Summit approaches, defense cooperation remains the cornerstone of the bilateral relationship.
- As the war in Ukraine continues, it increases the rationale for resuming closer UK-France defense cooperation.
- Lessons needs to be drawn from the Lancaster House Treaties : overly ambitious and structuring plans are less likely to succeed than pragmatic, budget-conscious and ready-to-use projects.
- The need to prepare for high-intensity warfare opens new perspectives for capability development in all domains and for operational cooperation across the globe.
This Briefing is part of a joint Chatham House-IFRI research project, the "Cross-Channel Strategic Dialogue", investigating prospects for UK-France defence and security cooperation.
The project is supported by Airbus Group, BAE Systems, MBDA Missile Systems, Thales Group and Rolls-Royce Defence.