Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Britain Backs French Plan for European Defense Force: Minister

Britain Backs French Plan for  European Defense Force: Minister

SOFIA - Britain is backing a French plan to create a European military intervention force as a way to maintain strong defense ties with the EU after Brexit, a minister told AFP on Saturday.
British junior defence minister Frederick Curzon said London was “very keen to support” French President Emmanuel Macron’s plan for a force that could be deployed rapidly to deal with crises.
The force, known as the European Intervention Initiative, would be separate from other EU defence cooperation, meaning there would be no obstacle to Britain taking part after it leaves the bloc.
“We’re very keen to support President Macron in this initiative,” Curzon told AFP as he arrived for a meeting of EU defense ministers in Sofia.
“We look forward to sitting down with our French colleagues to work through the ideas that they have formulated for a more efficient and joined up security and defense system across Europe. We think it has a real part to play.” Twenty-five EU countries signed a major defense pact in December, agreeing to cooperate on various military projects, but it is not clear whether Britain would be allowed to take part in any of them after it leaves the bloc.
London has always resisted moves to create anything resembling an “EU army” but it has also stressed it wants to continue to have close security ties with the EU after Brexit. Curzon said the intervention initiative could play an important role in this.
“It certainly will help to achieve what we are looking for, which is a deep and special partnership with our European colleagues in defense and security,” he said.
The EU this week announced plans to spend nearly 20 billion euros on defense in its budget for 2021-2027, most of which will go on research and developing new military technologies for the bloc.
But December’s defence cooperation agreement, known by the acronym PESCO, did not include plans for an intervention force. (AFP)