Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and his German counterpart Ursula Von Der Leyen affirmed the two countries’ long-term commitment to working together at the first of what will be an annual UK-Germany Defence Ministerial Council.
RAF Brize Norton played host to discussions between the two NATO allies on co-operation on areas ranging from Baltic Air Policing to countering nefarious cyber activity.
"Brighter skies of peace and prosperity"
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The world may be darker and more dangerous than at any time since the fall of the Berlin Wall thirty years ago.
“But by strengthening our partnership with Germany we can uphold European security, defend the international rules-based order and look forward to brighter skies of peace and prosperity.”
The UK-Germany relationship has been accelerating in recent years, with the two nations last October signing a Joint Vision Statement on increasing defence cooperation. Alongside the similar Franco-British Council and the French-German Defence and Security Council, the UK-Germany Defence Ministerial Council ties up a powerful security triangle to defend European security.
At RAF Brize Norton, that vision became a reality as the UK and Germany committed to cooperating on NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission when German Typhoons depart their Estonian airbase in April and British Typhoons fly in to take their place. Each force will share expertise with the other on how they conduct the deployment.
It was also announced that RAF Coningsby will be twinned with the Laage airbase in Germany, following the twinning of transport bases RAF Brize Norton and Wunsdorf. Such partnerships boost understanding and learning best practices from each other through pilot exchange programmes.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: It is worth noting that, while the Franco-German Defence Council is chaired by the French President and the German Chancellor, its Anglo-German equivalent is established at a lower, ministerial level.)