Summary: UK Foreign and Defence Secretaries have welcomed France’s Defence White Paper, which sets out its vision for French Armed Forces.
The White Paper, released on 29 April, opted to keep France’s air, ground and sea capabilities, while freezing defence budgets over six years and cutting 34,000 military posts between 2014 and 2019. France will also retain its nuclear deterrent and keep its aircraft-carrier in service.
French President François Hollande said: “France’s destiny is to be a global nation and our duty is to guarantee not only our own security but that of our allies and partners.”
In response to France’s recent Defence White Paper (Livre Blanc) announcement, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:
“The British Government welcomes the publication by France of its Defence White Paper, with its vision of highly skilled, well equipped, expeditionary French Armed Forces and the willingness to deploy them alongside allies to protect and strengthen the rules-based international system.
“We welcome the framework the Livre Blanc provides for the UK and France to continue to develop our defence co-operation, whether through sharing the costs of developing high-end military capabilities or developing the UK/French Combined Joint Expeditionary Force, which will underpin our future interoperability. The UK is fully committed to the ambitious agenda set out in the Lancaster House Treaties of 2010. Since then we have cemented our defence relationship, demonstrating on operations in Libya and Mali that the UK and France are natural partners and have a key role to play in leading and shaping the defence and security of Europe.
“We also welcome the importance the report attaches to NATO and to enhancing the complementary military role of the EU, and we look forward to working with France in both institutions to enhance the coherence, capabilities and interoperability of European nations.
“The UK has been involved throughout the process, including through the participation of our Ambassador in Paris, Sir Peter Ricketts, on the Commission overseeing the Livre Blanc process. We are grateful for this close co-operation and openness, which is emblematic of the high level of mutual trust between our governments, and the enduring strength and breadth of our vital bilateral relationship.”
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