Brexit: David McCredie discusses UK trade deal with Australia
When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.
The UK signed the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement at the end of 2020 but the deal aimed at ensuring an accord on the trading relationship between the EU and Britain did not include structural cooperation on defence and security matters.
The latter, defence expert Ester Sabatino claims, continues to be regulated primarily via NATO, of which both the UK and most EU states are members.
The researcher at the International Affairs Institute, however, noted in an interview with Express.co.uk that Britain may be inclined to sign bilateral or mini-multilateral agreements with EU states in a renewed independent capacity, rather than opt for a format that will see the EU Council sign a deal with Britain as a bloc.
Ms Sabatino argued that while the outcome of multiple bilateral agreements on matters of defence and security are to be welcomed, it would not put the EU as a whole in a particularly good light.
She explained: “NATO operations and missions are going to stay but a framework on structural cooperation is needed between the EU and the UK.
“I’m not sure it is a priority for the UK to find an agreement with all 27 EU member states.
“Rather I think that the UK is going to prefer bilateral or multilateral frameworks, for example, the continuance of the joint expeditionary force, or in fact, the free formats of the bilateral relationships with France and Germany.
“The UK is now also negotiating a bilateral agreement with Italy and there are rumours that this agreement is going to be comprehensive on security and defence issues.
“So I think that probably cooperation in this field is going to be characterised by several bilateral or multilateral agreements.
“Of course, this is not really positive from a European perspective, in the sense that each member state can have some different kind of relationship with the UK.
“But it’s better to have bilateral or multilateral cooperation than not having any kind of cognitive framework.”
It comes as the EU’s military structured cooperation (PESCO) of 46 military projects aimed at improving EU-NATO cooperation was opened by Brussels to third countries for the first time this month.
The bloc agreed on a set of political, legal and “substantive” conditions to allow non-EU countries to participate in joint defence projects.
Under the plan, political conditions for third countries limit their participation to cases where they provide “substantial added value” to the military project and share “the values on which the EU is founded”.
Many EU diplomats agreed that the set of political conditions effectively excluded Russia, China, but also Turkey, especially after relations between Brussels and Ankara have deteriorated in the past few years.
But the Turkish Government has now formally sent a request to join.
‘Brexit a walk in the park!’ SNP independence plans ridiculed [VIDEO]
Brexit LIVE: Boris told to ‘abolish’ EU deal or face UK breaking apart [LIVE BLOG]
Trade deal POLL: Which nation should Boris pick for next Brexit deal? [POLL]
A Dutch spokesperson confirmed: “Turkey has indeed informed us of its desire to participate in the military mobility project. As project coordinator, we carefully follow the application process established by the Council.”
The request followed a warning launched by Turkey to the EU in November over threats it would not be allowed to apply until the dispute with Cyprus and Greece were resolved.
Turkish officials then warned that “if PESCO starts on the wrong footing and creates new division lines, it will be neither be successful nor contribute to the transatlantic security architecture”.
EU foreign affairs spokesperson Peter Stano told EURACTIV that “the Netherlands, as project coordinator, has indicated that the request will be assessed by the project members, in line with the established procedures, as it did with previous requests”.
This internal process is ongoing,” Stano added.
Asked the same question, the Dutch spokesperson said “non-EU countries are free to apply for participation in PESCO projects”.
“After such a request, all project members must unanimously decide if that country meets the conditions,” the spokesperson added.
However, neither of the two officials did comment on whether Turkey’s application would fulfil the political conditions.
A total of 24 EU countries are currently participating in the PESCO alliance.
Source: Read Full Article