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Thirty-fourth Franco-British summit

Published on March 4, 2016
Statement on security and defense¹
Amiens, March 3, 2016


1. For over a century, French and British soldiers have been fighting side by side against all the threats to our security. In 2016, we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, which symbolises an unparalleled expression of mutual solidarity. During the battle, some 400,000 British and 200,000 French soldiers were killed or injured. Our solidarity is the legacy of those terrible times.

2. We remain fully determined to face security challenges together. Our two countries, building on a common strategic culture, devote a substantial proportion of our national wealth to defence spending in order to fulfil all our responsibilities as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Our defence budgets together account for almost half of all European defence budgets.

3. It is this common resolve to face challenges and threats that is expressed in the Lancaster House treaties signed five years ago. These treaties, which have an unprecedented ambition, aim to strengthen a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship in the areas that best embody sovereignty: security and defence. They are unique and also an exceptional level of confidence in the common heritage of our two countries.

4. The results of the implementation of these treaties five years on attest to the validity of the initial project and the benefits that we have gained from them. Our bilateral defence relationship, which was already rich, has been further strengthened and is based on three robust pillars of cooperation on operational matters, capability projects and nuclear technology. In 2016, we are determined to take its development further.

Defence policy

5. Defence policies of our countries are structured around common values, responsibilities and interests, which form the bedrock of our bilateral cooperation. Our defence and security interests are converging and will be more strongly defended over the long term if they are based on joint structures and actions.

6. Since our last summit, France has been hit twice on its territory by unprecedented terrorist attacks which targeted both our common values and citizens from some 20 countries. Since these attacks, France and the United Kingdom have reiterated their commitment to fight with determination against Daesh, both from a military standpoint, where both countries have increased their participation in the international coalition, and from an ideological and political perspective. Defence ministers in Paris on 20 January and in Brussels on 11 February underlined the need to accelerate the pace of operations.

7. Following France’s invocation of Article 42.7 of the European Union’s treaty, members have provided increasing support to the overseas actions conducted by France. The United Kingdom stands alongside France and has provided a swift and strong response through its operational commitment in Syria, but also by proposing to increase its action to support the Mixed Multinational Force and its national components in the fight against Boko Haram. The United Kingdom is considering providing direct support to Operation Barkhane in the Sahel region, the modalities of which are still being discussed. France is grateful for this commitment and supports all its operational aspects.

8. France and the United Kingdom support work towards a more effective and global approach to Europe’s foreign and security policy, to ensure a common view of risks and threats that affect our continent, for the necessary continuum between the Union’s different instruments – in order to strengthen the capacities of our partners (CBSD) and to support the European defence industry – as well as for the complementarity of our actions between the EU, Atlantic Alliance and United Nations.

9. The EU’s missions and operations in Africa make an essential contribution to our security, particularly in Mali, Central African Republic and Somalia. France and the United Kingdom are supporting the planning work for the third mandate of the EU military mission in Mali (EUTM Mali), beyond May 2016, and for a two-year mandate for training programmes and operational training, as well as strategic advice, for a future EU military mission in CAR (EUTM CAR), which could be launched by the summer of 2016, following the end of the transition in the Central African Republic.
The three EU missions and operations in the Horn of Africa and off the Coast of Somalia – Operation EU NAVFOR Atalanta, EUCAP Nestor and the EU military mission in Somalia (EUTM Somalia) – provide strong support to the Somalian authorities in the field of security and defence. France and the United Kingdom are supporting the ongoing planning work during summer 2016 for revised mandates for all three missions and operations until December 2018.

10. NATO continues to be the strongest military alliance in the world providing security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. France and the United Kingdom will work together to ensure the next summit, which will be held in Warsaw in July, further strengthens NATO against current challenges from the east and south flanks and adapts to combat future ones. We welcome the important steps being taken towards modern deterrence and defence. We support a more focused and prioritized approach to partnerships and to strengthening co-operation between NATO and the EU. We welcome NATO’s support in dealing with the crisis in the Aegean Sea and its commitment to Afghanistan.
11. France and the United Kingdom will continue to play a leading role in promoting European and transatlantic security, in ensuring sufficient level of defence investments, halting the decline in defence spending in accordance with the Wales Defence Investment Pledge and in providing mutual support at the political and operational levels in order to address the threats to peace and international security.
Combined Joint Expeditionary Force

12. The Lancaster House Treaty provides for the creation of an Anglo-French Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF). Following ambitious and demanding exercises, which implemented all the components of our two armed forces, the Griffin Strike exercise in April 2016 will allow the full validation of the concept of the CJEF. We have reached an unmatched level of interoperability between our forces. France and the United Kingdom will therefore be able to envisage the planning and conducting of a first deployment operation with the quick reaction forces of both countries. In order to increase the agility of this force, in the coming months, the French and British ministers of defence will build scenarios for the way in which to use this force, including in high-intensity scenarios.

13. In order to facilitate the deployment of the CJEF, France and the United Kingdom are determined to build a common architecture for information and communication systems, increase their intelligence exchanges, and more effectively coordinate the national strategic planning mechanisms. The multi-annual training programme (2017-2022) will take into account this requirement and examine the conditions for a possible opening up to other allies.

14. The French and British air forces are working together in the Levant. Our naval forces are continuing to work in close cooperation, supporting each other for carrier groups and maritime patrols in the Atlantic. There are increasingly closer ties between our land forces at all rank levels. An exchange of general officers will be established in 2016: a British brigadier general will be appointed Deputy Commander of the French First Division in Besançon and a French brigadier general will be appointed Deputy Commander of the British First York Division.

Defence equipment

15. Cooperation in the field of defence capabilities and equipment is a key pillar of the Lancaster House Treaty. The 2014 Brize Norton Summit saw UK and France agree to a very substantial package of equipment and capabilities cooperation spanning across all domains, most significantly on the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), on Complex Weapons and on Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM). Since then we have delivered a number of significant achievements against all the key strategic objectives and we are willing to extend and deepen our equipment and capabilities cooperation.

16. Future Combat Air System. At the Brize Norton Summit in 2014, France and the United Kingdom agreed to work together in exploring future combat air systems. Our plan was to enter initially into a two-year feasibility study, which could inform a follow-on demonstration programme. The joint feasibility study, worth a total of £120 million, was launched in November 2014 and has focused on defining potential concepts and technologies. We are now looking to transition to the next phase in 2017, which will prepare for the full-scale development of unmanned combat air system (UCAS) operational demonstrators by 2025. This demonstration programme, the most advanced of its kind in Europe, will be centred on a versatile UCAS platform that could serve as the basis for a future operational capability beyond 2030. We intend to invest more than €2 billion on the programme, with a technical review around 2020. In addition, we will strengthen our collaboration by working together to analyse the future combat air environment including how manned and unmanned systems might operate together.

17. Complex Weapons. We are fully supporting the long-term strategy to jointly deliver effective military equipment in the most efficient manner while minimizing national constraints and strengthening our common defence technological and industrial base. In support of this, defence ministers signed in September 2015 an Inter-Governmental Agreement enabling full implementation of Centres of Excellence into MBDA, a key step towards creating interdependence between us around key missile technologies. We also intend to develop in 2016 a portfolio approach to strengthen our industrial links and jointly address the current and future operational requirements of our forces. In that respect, France is for instance considering Brimstone 2 for next standard of Tiger combat helicopter and the United Kingdom is considering the Aster Block 1NT for equipping its T45 Destroyers.

18. Since the last summit, significant milestones have been reached on collaborative weapons projects: on the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (Heavy)/Anti Navire Léger programme, a joint contract for the £500 million (€600 million) worth Development and Manufacturing phase was signed in March 2014; on the SCALP/Storm Shadow Capability Enhancement Programme, a two-year Design Phase was launched in July 2014; there has also been extensive information exchanges in 2015 and building of understanding on portfolio opportunities. Besides, other key cooperative missile activities will be extended further in 2016, such as the sustainment of our Aster missiles stockpiles and the shared-studied enhancement of our SCALP/Storm Shadow capability. We signed today a SoI confirming our intent to enter into a joint concept phase for the Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon (FC/ASW) programme to identify solutions for replacement of the Scalp/Storm Shadow missiles for both countries, Harpoon for the UK and Exocet for France. Any concept phase would seek to inform by 2020 decisions concerning a potential follow-on assessment phase. We are working with the objective to sign arrangement for this concept phase for the end of 2016, to pave the way for possible contracts by March 2017.

19. Maritime Mine Countermeasures. The MMCM project aims at developing the next generation of Maritime Mine Countermeasures capabilities, based on unmanned underwater vehicles, to better respond to the sea-mine threat in the long-term and operate more effectively. At the Brize Norton Summit in 2014 both nations committed to funding the system design phase and a joint contract was awarded by OCCAR to industry in March 2015. Today we confirm our intent to commit in 2016 to develop and manufacture the MMCM demonstrators/prototypes worth around €150 million.

20. A400M. A bilateral coordination on aircraft delivery timelines and acceptance strategy is carried on and an initial two-year bilateral support contract was signed end of 2014. We intend to expand it to other support activities and to encourage other nations to join.
21. Land domain. Our 40mm CTA cannon has been successfully developed after years of innovative collaborative R&T effort. It will be the main weapon for hundreds of our brand new armoured vehicles JAGUAR and AJAX, for which production orders were placed in December 2014 for France and March 2015 for the UK. Ongoing development of new ammunitions will broaden the fighting capabilities delivered by the system, and a bilateral agreement is under preparation to ensure common configuration management and support.

22. Opportunities for cooperation are being considered on a regular basis, namely to support CJEF capabilities development.

23. Research & Technology: As key ongoing programmes will continuously support major cooperation projects deliveries in the field of Complex Weapons, Air systems and UCAV, France and the UK are also deepening joint R&T innovation in the field of CBRN and emerging materials. While the joint PhD programme continues to expand, both nations have also agreed a new framework for cooperation with industry and academia through information about a Key Technology Plan. This aim at encouraging our scientists and engineers to network and fostering innovation amongst our industrial base.

Nuclear deterrence

24. France and the United Kingdom reaffirm the unique and essential role that nuclear deterrence continues to play in their respective defence strategies.

25. The French and British strategic forces have a specific role of deterrence and contribute to the global deterrence and security of the Atlantic Alliance. This contribution is made in a specific framework for each of our countries. France and the United Kingdom will work, ahead of the Warsaw Summit, for the role of nuclear deterrence in NATO’s defence and deterrence posture to be fully taken into account.

¹Source of English text: UK government website.

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