EU not needed: Germany, France and Italy vying for post-Brexit deals with UK
The three largest EU countries – France, Italy and Germany – have started negotiations with the UK with the aim of concluding bilateral post-Brexit security and intelligence agreements.
Discussions are taking place at ambassadorial and ministerial level, focusing on defense cooperation and intelligence sharing, according to several reports in Germany and France, as well as The Guardian.
Bilateral talks follow the UK’s stance that it is not interested in closer security ties with the EU as a whole.
The UK and the EU’s largest and most powerful member state, Germany, reportedly launched negotiations months ago, aiming for a joint declaration or treaty before the end of this year.
German Ambassador to London Andreas Michaelis previously called the UK the “ideal partner” for a security and intelligence partnership with Germany, thereby downplaying the need for the EU to be part of it all. agreement.
Along with any bilateral deal, the UK and Germany are also discussing whether and how the UK could establish some sort of coordinated foreign policy framework with the EU, most likely through NATO, the G7 or E3, which is Germany, France and Great Britain. The E3 configuration was used in negotiations with Iran.
Meanwhile, France and the UK are planning to relaunch their annual meeting between UK defense and foreign ministers.
This was reportedly agreed upon during the recent visit of Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s foreign minister, while in London for the G7 foreign ministers’ summit last month.
The last time such a summit took place was over two years ago.
“On many issues, we have congruent points of view, shared analyzes or common interests. We’re neighbors. We cannot stand still staring at each other, ”said Le Drian.
Finally, Italy is also looking forward to concluding a deal with the UK in the coming months.
Officials at the Italian Embassy in London have made it clear to several news outlets that they hope to reach “an agreement or a mini-treaty” with the UK before the end of this year.
The Italian government is reportedly exploring different scenarios in which Italian legislation could be introduced to pave the way for a defense deal with the UK to be seen as ‘a trade with a like-minded partner’, rather than ‘one third, not a member of the EU. country.
In public, Giorgio Mule, Italy’s Deputy Defense Minister, recently said that the UK’s recent Integrated Security and Foreign Policy Review demonstrated “a willingness to maintain the UK’s commitment to security in Europe at a high level “.
Mule’s comments come just months after the new Italian prime minister took office. Mario Draghi, former president of the European Central Bank, would be in favor of a bilateral agreement with the United Kingdom.
Although he is a staunch supporter of Italy’s EU membership, he is far less enthusiastic about the close ties with Russia and China than previous Italian governments.
Italy is also chair of the next G20 summit, which will be held in Rome on October 30 and 31 this year.
Italy’s collaboration with the UK on security and defense issues is not new: BAE Systems and its Italian counterpart Leonardo have worked together for years.
More recently, they have teamed up for a sixth generation fighter jet, the Tempest.
Mule stressed that it was vital “to anchor an industrial policy capable of facing aggressive and often ruthless international competition and, in particular, Chinese competition with competence, know-how, capacity and technological innovation”.
When approached by City AM this afternoon, a spokesperson for the European Commission in Brussels declined to comment on the reports.