Rapid Responses

onal

onal defence

[Re: Could a BAE-EADS merger prove a danger to national interests?, yesterday]

This merger raises questions that have yet to receive adequate answers. There are obvious implications to losing the strategic totem that has been BAE: its work is closely related to UK national defence, and we should not risk it without careful assurances. BAE also employs 13,000 employees directly, and its supply chain numbers more than 140,000 jobs. We must be sure that these skills aren’t lost. Finally, developments in Europe risk compromising our interests: if federal integration is progressed, then what will happen if we successfully negotiate an alternative arrangement with the EU?

Brian Binley, Conservative MP for Northampton South

BAE has invested heavily in the US market over the years, but left itself without an equivalent presence in the European market. It has heard Barack Obama’s plans to re-balance US defence towards the Pacific Ocean and away from its Atlantic seaboard. The implications are clear: Europe will have to do more for its own defence and there will have to be far more European defence cooperation in order to achieve this. BAE must therefore up its game in Europe and its cooperation with other players in the market. So this move makes a lot of sense, and should strengthen the company and the UK’s aerospace business. In the long term it should also be good for jobs.

Nick Harvey is Liberal Democrat MP for North Devon

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