LONDON and COLOGNE --- Britain and Germany may be going their separate ways after negotiations for the U.K. exit from the European Union are complete, but the two nations are still planning to deepen defense cooperation on a bilateral basis according to a document released in London earlier this week.
London and Berlin have completed negotiations on a document to provide top cover for future co-operation activities and are looking for an opportunity to sign the agreement, said an entry tucked away in the U.K. Ministry of Defence’s 2016 report and accounts published July 19.
“We have finalized a bilateral ‘Joint Vision Statement’ and are identifying an opportunity for signature. A shared roadmap is being developed to underpin our bilateral work,” said the report.
According to officials in Berlin the upcoming German general elections in September have put the signing on hold for now.
Meetings between procurement chiefs and officials exploring potential co-operation on defense equipment programs are continuing though.
A spokesman for the British Ministry of Defence said the two sides had recently met for further co-operation discussions under the umbrella of a forum known as the Ministerial Equipment and Capability Co-operation.
“There have been three ministerial equipment and capability co-operation meetings so far. The most recent took place [in London] on 13 June 2017,” he said.
While officials were mum on details, topics of discussion are understood to have also included large, multi-national programs already underway, like the Eurofighter Typhoon or the Airbus A400M airlifter.
Those efforts, plus many smaller ones, could be susceptible to changes in the formal trade relationships that are now being renegotiated between the U.K. and the EU. (end of excerpt)
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(EDITOR’S NOTE: How this German-UK initiative can be reconciled with existing French-UK defense cooperation as well as the new French-German initiatives announced July 13, and which include joint development of a new-generation combat aircraft, remains extremely murky.)