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The importance of Europe in NATO's maritime work

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has delivered a speech at the annual meeting of the Chiefs of European Navies in Portsmouth.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

British Royal Marines train alongside their counterparts from the French Marine Corps (library image) [Picture: Petty Officer (Photographer) Sean Clee, Crown copyright]

British Royal Marines train alongside French Marine Corps personnel

During his speech Mr Hammond was clear on the role European navy chiefs must play in explaining the importance of Europe’s part in NATO’s maritime work in the lead up to the NATO Summit in Wales in September this year.

He discussed how important this coming together of nations was, with an emphasis on finding better ways of working together to tackle shared threats such as international piracy and blockades of economic choke points. Mr Hammond said:

Since the threats we face are global in scale, we must be ready to deploy, willing to project force around the globe, whenever and wherever the need arises. As we head towards the NATO Summit in Wales, we can shape our forces to meet the new security challenges that lie ahead.

British and French paratroopers congratulate each other
British and French paratroopers congratulate each other after a successful joint exercise (library image) [Picture: Corporal Obi Igbo, Crown copyright]

Mr Hammond also referred to the NATO Summit as a chance to ‘reinvigorate and revitalise our network of alliances’, with particular focus on the development of command and control and logistics structures that will enable the UK and France to conduct combined joint operations. He said:

Having proved the concept, we want to expand the principle with the Joint Expeditionary Force. This would involve a maritime task force, commanded by a lead nation that would be generated, trained and validated for NATO operations but able to operate independently while at notice. We plan to sign a letter of intent with key potential participating nations at the NATO Summit in Wales in September.

NATO Summit Wales 2014

The NATO Summit will be the largest gathering of international leaders ever to take place in Britain. As well as discussing Europe’s role in NATO’s maritime work, talk will address issues which threaten NATO countries’ national security and also the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan at the end of this year.

Published 23 May 2014