The three largest countries in the European Union – France, Italy and Germany – have entered negotiations with the United Kingdom with the aim of reaching bilateral security and intelligence agreements after Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Discussions are underway at the level of ambassadors and ministries, with special attention given to defense cooperation and intelligence sharing, according to numerous reports also in Germany and France. guardian.
The bilateral talks follow the UK’s position that it is not interested in closer security ties with the EU as a whole.
The UK and Germany, the EU’s largest and most powerful member state, have reportedly started negotiations months ago, aiming to issue a joint declaration or treaty by the end of this year.
The German ambassador in London, Andreas Michaelis, has previously described the UK as an “ideal partner” for a security and intelligence partnership with Germany, reducing the EU’s need to be a party to any agreement.
In addition to any bilateral agreements, the UK and Germany are also discussing whether and how the UK could create some kind of coordinated foreign policy framework with the EU and how that might be done, perhaps through NATO, the G7 or the third group, which is Germany. Britain. The E3 configuration was used in negotiations with Iran.
Meanwhile, France and the UK are planning to relaunch their annual meeting between the UK’s defense and foreign ministers.
This was reportedly agreed during a recent visit by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, when he was in London for the G7 foreign ministers summit last month.
The last time such a summit was held was more than two years ago.
On many issues we have identical viewpoints, common analyzes, or common interests. We are neighbors. “We can’t just sit idly by and stare at each other,” Le Drian said.
Finally, Italy is also eager to conclude an agreement with the United Kingdom in the next two months.
Officials from the Italian Embassy in London have made it clear to several media outlets that they hope to have a “mini-deal” with the UK by the end of this year.
The Italian government is said to be looking at different scenarios under which legislation could be introduced in Italy to pave the way for any defense deal with the UK to be considered a “like-minded partner trade” rather than a third party from outside the EU.
Publicly, Giorgio Moli, Italy’s deputy defense minister, recently stated that the UK’s recent Integrated Review on Security and Foreign Policy shows “a willingness to keep the UK’s commitment to security in Europe high”.
Molly’s comments arrived a few months after the inauguration of the new Italian prime minister. Mario Draghi, the former head of the European Central Bank, is said to be keen on concluding a bilateral agreement with the UK.
Although he is a strong supporter of Italy’s entry into the European Union, he is less enthusiastic about close relations with Russia and China than previous Italian governments.
Italy also holds the presidency of the upcoming G20 summit, which will be held in Rome from October 30 to 31 this year.
Security and defense cooperation between Italy and the UK is nothing new: BAE Systems and its Italian counterpart Leonardo have been collaborating for years.
Most recently, they collaborated on a sixth-generation combat aircraft, Tempest.
Muli stressed that it is necessary to “establish an industrial policy capable of facing the aggressive and often difficult international competition, especially the Chinese competition with competence, knowledge, ability and technological innovation.”
when you get close It’s cities This afternoon, a spokesperson for the European Commission in Brussels declined to comment on the reports.