Government wants deeper security relationship with EU than any other country

Catherine Neilan
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Prime Minister Theresa May Appoints Her Cabinet
Fallon: "Our role in the continent’s defence has never been more vital. (Source: Getty)

The UK will seek to agree a post-Brexit security framework with the European Union that is "deeper than any other third country", the government will today reveal.

The Deparment for Exiting the European Union (DexEU) plans to contribute military assets to EU operations, cooperate on sanctions and agree joint positions on foreign policy as part of a "deep security partnership" with the bloc after leaving.

In a new position paper, published later today, the government will pledge to "use our assets, capabilities and influence to combat the shared challenges facing the continent, including illegal migration, terrorism, cyber and state-based threats".

The paper highlights the UK's successful military cooperation with the EU on tackling piracy off the Horn of Africa, to joint defence projects with the EU - including the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft - as examples of the collaborative work that could be continued after the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

Brexit secretary David Davis said: “After we leave the European Union we will continue to face shared threats to our security, our shared values and our way of life. It’s in our mutual interest to work closely with the EU and its member states to challenge terrorism and extremism, illegal migration, cyber-crime, and conventional state-based military aggression.

“Today’s paper highlights Britain’s world class diplomacy and defence capabilities, our leading contribution to international development, and our desire to continue to use these as part of a deep and special partnership with the EU.”

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson added: “In recent years, the European Union has helped achieve crucial foreign policy goals – from bringing Iran to the negotiating table, to uniting in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine. We want this EU role to continue after we leave.

“This is why, in addition to stronger relations with EU member states, we also envisage a strong UK-EU partnership on foreign and defence policy following our departure. This will allow us to continue our work in tackling the shared challenges we face worldwide.”

Defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “At a time of increased threats and international instability the UK remains unwavering in its commitment to uphold European security. With the largest defence budget in Europe, the largest Navy British troops and planes deployed across land, air and sea in Europe, our role in the continent’s defence has never been more vital.

“As we leave the EU, the UK and our European allies will ensure a close partnership that meets these shared challenges head on.”

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