Britain will take a leading role in a new European Defence alliance beyond the control of Brussels.
In a meeting yesterday both the French and German Government’s began developing plans for a rapid reaction force and mutual alliance. Aware that no European Defence Alliance would work without the cooperation of the British Defence Force, both parties agreed that the British must be at the core of this new alliance.
The force would be comprised of troops from a number of EU states and could be deployed overseas to help in humanitarian crises and civil wars.
Crucially however, it would be independent of Brussels, and therefore circumvent hardliners in the European Commission who want to limit defence cooperation after Brexit.
This is a sensible move by these countries, the UK runs one of the most sophisticated and significant military operations in the world and its alliances and technological developments mean that in the EU or not, it must be included in strategic discussions.
The United Kingdom is one of five recognised nuclear powers, is a permanent member on the United Nations Security Council, is a founding and leading member of the NATO military alliance, and is party to the Five Power Defence Arrangements. Overseas garrisons and facilities are maintained at Ascension Island, Bahrain, Belize, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, Germany, Gibraltar, Kenya, Montserrat, Nepal, Qatar, Singapore and the United States.
In terms of intelligence sharing, the UK is part of the essential five eyes partnership with Australia, the USA, New Zealand and Canada, which to this day remains the most comprehensive espionage alliances in history.
The UK is second only to France in terms of its military expenditure in the EU and the sixth biggest spender globally, consistently reaching the NATO goal of 2% of GDP.
Brussels is currently developing plans for enhanced defence cooperation that critics have said lays the groundwork for a euro army. But the EU has not yet decided whether the UK can take part in that project with some arguing it cannot be allowed to play a major role.
Britain is no small player in the military game and those in the European Union who believe that Britain should be removed from strategic military discussions are toying with a naive and dangerous game.
This fresh alliance represents an acknowledgement of both the historical and contemporary importance of the British military strength. Countries within the European Union are becoming increasingly concerned about the threats that come with the rise of Russia, North Korea and China and they will need assistance from Britain if they are to retain their dominance and strategic safety. But importantly it will mean that Britain will not be dictated to by Brussels when it comes to military intervention; Britain can make assessments based upon its own intelligence and will not have to place its own safety in the hands of the European Union.