Fifth anniversary of the Lancaster House agreements
Fifth anniversary of the
Lancaster House agreements
On the fifth anniversary of the
Lancaster House Agreement, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and French
Minister for Defence Monsieur Le Drian reaffirm the defence relationship
between their countries. London and Paris. November 2, 2015.
Source : GOV.UK
Five years ago, on the 2nd of November 2010, our two
countries signed two treaties at Lancaster House: on defence and security, and
on nuclear cooperation. This was a historic commitment to build a long term
partnership in defence and security, reflecting our common history, interests,
values and responsibilities, and understanding of the threats we face, and an
unprecedented token of our mutual confidence. Tomorrow we meet there again to
mark that commitment and continue tackling together our shared security
UK-French defence cooperation is nothing new. For more than a
century our Armed Forces have fought side by side. In 2016, we will commemorate
the courage and sacrifice of all those who, one hundred years ago served
alongside each other in defence of our countries during the Battle of the Somme.
World War I claimed more than two million lives in our two countries alone.
Since 1945 our two countries have dedicated a substantial proportion of our
national wealth to defence, reflecting our responsibilities as permanent members
of the United Nations Security Council, willing and able to deploy and sustain
armed forces around the world. Since October 1995, as President Jacques Chirac
and Prime Minister John Major set out in their Declaration when they met at
Chequers, we have recognised the significant convergence of our vital interests.
Together, both our defence budgets put together represent almost half of total
defence expenditure of the EU Member States, and an even larger proportion of
European defence research and development.
We have achieved a great deal in the last five years. We have
shown that France and the United Kingdom have powerful military capabilities and
the political will to use them on the whole spectrum of crisis management
missions. Our Armed Forces operated together against the Taliban in Afghanistan
and off the Horn of Africa; they remain engaged side-by-side against ISIL, in
the Mediterranean and in the EU training and advisory mission in Mali. Together,
we are engaged in air-policing duties within NATO. The UK has provided strategic
air transport and surveillance support to French operations in Mali and the
Central African Republic. France supported the UK Tornado deployment to help the
Nigerian Government in its fight against Boko Haram. French Atlantique Maritime
Patrol Aircraft have operated from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.
And since 2010, we have been working steadily to deepen and
embed our capacity to deploy and operate jointly at short notice a Combined
Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) up to 10,000 strong. We expect this to be fully
validated next spring, on schedule, in Exercise GRIFFIN STRIKE. And we now have
about 50 officers within each other’s Armed Forces. French officers have
deployed on UK operations and UK officers on French operations.
Our equipment and industrial cooperation has also grown
steadily stronger over the last five years, focused on key domains such as our
long-standing cooperation on advanced missiles, the Future Combat Air System
project launched at the Brize Norton Summit in January 2014, and naval mine
warfare. It includes working together to deliver shared efficiencies through
greater mutual dependence. Now we are taking this one step further with the
signing of an agreement to create within MBDA a number of Centres of Excellence
in France and the UK dedicated to common missile systems.
In the nuclear field, which more than any other domain
reflects the closeness of our bonds and of our mutual confidence, we have
developed common tools and facilities to ensure the safety and reliability of
the weapons that represent a last resort defence of our vital interests. This
includes construction of the joint radiographic and hydrodynamics facility at
Valduc in Burgundy, where the British installations will be inaugurated in 2016.
These successes encourage us further to deepen, broaden and
sustain our cooperation under the Lancaster House agreements. Tomorrow is our
ninth meeting in the last year, an unprecedented drumbeat of Ministerial
engagement. Defence and security policy teams now engage on a range of issues
from strategic and intelligence analysis, non-proliferation and nuclear policy
to African security and NATO reform. Only a few weeks ago we jointly opened the
first defence cyber conference in Paris. Since the Charlie Hebdo attacks we have
been working together over the issue of military contribution to domestic
security. We are committed to maintaining this momentum in 2016 and beyond.
Jean-Yves le Drian
See also :
Bilan et perspectives du traité de Lancaster House