As permanent members of the UN Security Council, we are committed to act together to resolve crises and preserve peace and security worldwide. We are confronted by the same challenges and our strategic interests are very close and interrelated. A common response is key to overcoming these challenges to our security and to the security of our partners and Allies.
The British-French cooperation initiative on European carrier group interoperability, launched in London in March 2008, is well on track, with 9 participating Nations. A first joint exercise is to take place this year.
On helicopters, we have also agreed to develop options for the joint training and sharing of best practice for the benefit of the effectiveness of these forces including potentially preparation for operations.
France and the UK are the two largest European investors in defence. We will continue to broaden and deepen our defence industrial co-operation, including through the European Defence Agency (EDA) and EU Capability Development Plan in the following areas:
-- complex weapons, through the Scalp/Storm Shadow enhancement programme;
--development of a new Future Anti Surface Missile/Anti-Navire Léger;
--preparation together of the next generation of military communications satellites, including signature of a Statement of Intent;
--acceleration of armament procurement and improvement of equipment to answer urgent operational requirements for our Armed Forces, including signature of a Statement of Intent;
--foster regular exchanges on lessons learned and exchanges of personel between the two procurement organizations;
--in the mid to long-term, assess the scope for collaboration on Unmanned Air Vehicles (ISTAR and UCAS Combat system), by undertaking a detailed joint study to map out the key elements of any collaborative programmes and establishing concrete discussions between our industries.
It is our common and strategic interest to sustain and develop industrial and technological skills in Europe. Research and technology (R&T) is critical and the UK and France play a leading role in Europe in investing in this area.
To this end:
--we support the objective to increase R&T investment in 2010.
--we are determined to support innovation and expertise through appropriate EDA initiatives.
--we will facilitate cross-investment and identify appropriate rules for the control of exports and exchange of classified data.
We reiterate our full support to the Anglo-French High Level Working Group on defence acquisition. This group is the right vehicle to propose joint projects, innovative solutions and foster dialogue to develop defence capabilities. It is also looking at how jointly we can facilitate bilateral cross-channel and wider business for companies operating both in the UK and France through more flexible and coordinated operation of national export licensing systems.
France and the United Kingdom are also committed to finding a positive outcome for the renegotiation of the A400M programme. The A400M will meet the capability needs of its client countries' armed forces and offer outstanding performance. The principle behind this renegotiation is that the company bear the consequences of the programme delays and contribute to compensating for the resulting capability deficit.
The two governments are open, on the basis of these principles, to amendments allowing the pursuit of the programme under reasonable conditions. (end of excerpt)
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The joint position described above, which stipulates that Airbus Military must bear the consequences of the delays to the A400M program, and contribute to compensating for the resulting capability deficit, is a major departure from the position agreed between France and Germany in early June.
That agreement, also backed by Spain, would have allowed Airbus and its corporate parent, EADS, to avoid paying most of the contractual penalties for which it was liable.)