Technical note on consultation and cooperation on external security

This technical note is part of a series of papers produced by the UK negotiating team for discussion with the EU and outlines options for future UK-EU consultation and cooperation arrangements across foreign policy, common security and defence policy (CSDP), defence capabilities and development and external instruments.

The Prime Minister set out in her Munich speech that the UK wants to develop a new security partnership with the EU that builds on the breadth and depth of our shared interests and values, and one that goes beyond any existing third country arrangements. As agreed with Taskforce 50 this paper provides further detail on what future UK-EU consultation and cooperation on external security might entail. This builds on the UK presentation to Taskforce 50 on 4 May, which we published on 9 May 2018.

Europe’s security is our security. As the Prime Minster said in Munich, the United Kingdom is unconditionally committed to maintaining it. We must do whatever best provides security for our citizens. The UK and EU need to be able to work together to respond quickly and effectively to the evolving and challenging threats that both parties face. Upon leaving the EU, the UK will pursue an independent foreign policy, but around the world the interests that we will seek to project and defend will continue to be rooted in our shared values. We must therefore create a future partnership that allows the UK and the EU to combine our efforts to the greatest effect – where this is in our shared interests.

As set out in the UK presentation, any future UK-EU consultation arrangements must respect both the decision-making autonomy of the European Union and the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. They also need to go beyond current arrangements between the EU and third countries if they are to capture the full depth and breadth of our envisaged
relationship. This includes the distinctive features that Taskforce 50’s own presentation recognises, not least our position as a departing Member State that is: a permanent member of the UN Security Council; a leading member of other international fora such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the G7, the G20, the Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Commonwealth; and the only European country that meets both the NATO target of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence and the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of gross national income on international development.

We are therefore of the view that a new, flexible and scalable framework of consultation and cooperation with the EU would be in our mutual interests and best suited to the unique circumstances we face. This would enable the EU and the UK to work closely together to have maximum impact – whether through coordinated positions in the UNSC or by
cooperating together during a crisis.