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UK-France declaration on security and defence

New declaration agreed at the UK-France Summit, February 2012.

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

Read the UK-France declaration

1. At the Lancaster House Summit, we took the historic decision to raise our defence and security cooperation to unprecedented levels. We took this decision because we are natural partners in security and defence and our countries share values, global interests and responsibilities. We signed two treaties, one on our security and defence cooperation, the other on joint defence nuclear facilities. Since then, those agreements have been ratified by our Parliaments. They now constitute the foundation of a wide range of ambitious cooperation programmes that are essential to our present and future defence and security interests.

2. We have expanded our cooperation in every major field: capabilities, industry, operations, and intelligence. As a result, we are stronger today to defend our strategic interests, to carry out our responsibilities as permanent members of the UN Security Council and leaders in the EU and NATO. We are better equipped to face the whole range of threats to our countries and our Allies: weapons of mass destruction and missiles, terrorists, cyber attacks and other technological threats, threats against the freedom of the seas and against free access to space.

3. We are determined to sustain a high level of defence spending, flexible and rapidly deployable forces, interoperability with our Allies and a solid industrial basis. Reflecting this ambition, France and the UK continue to account for nearly half of Europe’s defence spending. Our cooperation has enhanced efficiencies in our respective defence programs.

4. In the current changing strategic environment, we need a stronger NATO and a more effective EU common security and defence policy. We welcome the recent U.S. Global Defence announcement and the continued commitment to NATO and, therefore, European security. France and the UK are determined to play a leading part in this new context and are united in our belief that Europe must play a full role. We call for stronger cooperation among European Allies and partners to develop flexible, deployable, interoperable and trained military capabilities to support NATO and the EU.

5. A threat to our vital interests could emerge at any time. We do not see situations arising in which the vital interests of either nation could be threatened without the vital interests of the other also being threatened.

Lessons learned from Libya

6. Last year, we have seen our bilateral agreements on security and defence put to the test. We met today on the first anniversary of the Libyan uprising. Our cooperation in Libya has been a defining moment - and one on which we will continue to build in the future. We commend the courage and excellence of our armed forces and the contributions of our European and North American Allies. France and the UK successfully answered a UN call for civilians in Libya to be protected and led the NATO mission. The shared experience has validated and accelerated our cooperation.

7. Following an analysis of lessons identified, we have decided to prioritise our joint work in the key areas of: command and control; information systems; intelligence, surveillance, targeting and reconnaissance; and precision munitions.

8. We also recognise the unique contribution made by our Gulf allies, notably Qatar and the UAE, coordinated through NATO.  We will build on existing agreements to strengthen our co-operation with them across the political, operational and technical spectrum.

Combined joint expeditionary force

9. France and the UK agreed in November 2010 to set up a combined joint expeditionary force (CJEF). Our operation in Libya has proved the relevance of this work. Today we took additional steps to make the CJEF a real asset for our military operations in the future.

10. We agreed the level of ambition for the CJEF: an early entry force capable of facing multiple threats up to the highest intensity, available for bilateral, NATO, European Union, United Nations or other operations. A 5-year exercise framework is in place to achieve full operating capability in 2016.

11. We agreed to expand the number of exchange officers in our military academies and have established a Force Enhancement Working Group to identify the scope for further cost saving through exchange of services and alignment of military requirements.

12. We will conduct this year a major French-UK exercise, Corsican Lion, to accelerate the development of the CJEF. It will take place in the Mediterranean Sea with participation by sea, land and air forces.

13. On aircraft carrier cooperation, we will continue to build a joint maritime task group force. The UK and France aim to have, by the early 2020s, the ability to deploy a UK-French integrated carrier strike group incorporating assets owned by both countries.

Joint force headquarters

14. We will establish a deployable Combined Joint Force Headquarters. We agreed a step change in our combined UK/FR deployable HQ capability. By 2016, a UK/FR Headquarters will utilise existing French and UK high-readiness, well-experienced national Force Headquarters staff, including officers that we have embedded in each other’s deployable Headquarters. We will ensure that the Headquarters is capable of expansion to include staff from other nations participating in a multinational operation.

15. We agreed to accelerate development of the command and control elements of the CJEF so that in the short term, the combined Headquarters will be able to be deployed on request to command and execute an evacuation operation. This will be developed further to plan for and be ready to execute further operations of mutual interest before CJEF full operational capability in 2016.

Defence equipment

16. Unmanned air systems are crucial to success in the battlefield, as the Libya and Afghanistan campaigns have shown. We have agreed today to take forward our planned cooperation on UAS within a long term strategic partnership framework aimed at building a sovereign capability shared by our two countries. This framework will encompass the different levels from tactical to MALE in the mid term and UCAS in the long term:

Medium Altitude Longue Endurance (MALE) Drone: The Joint Program Office was launched in 2011. We will shortly place with BAES and Dassault a jointly funded contract to study the technical risks associated with the MALE UAV. We look forward to taking further decisions jointly in the light of the outcomes of this risk reduction phase to ensure that our respective sovereign requirements will be met in a cost effective manner.

Watchkeeper drone: France confirms its interest for the Watchkeeper system recognising the opportunities this would create for cooperation on technical, support, operational and development of doctrine and concepts.  An evaluation of the system by France will begin in 2012, in the framework of its national procurement process, and conclude in 2013.

We affirm our common will to undertake in 2013 a joint future combat air system demonstration programme that will set up a co-operation of strategic importance for the future of the European Combat Air Sector. This work will provide a framework to mature the relevant technologies and operational concepts for a UCAS operating in a high threat environment. We will begin as soon as 2012 the specification of this demonstrator with a jointly funded contract under the industrial leadership of our national fighter aircraft industries (Dassault-Aviation in France and BAE Systems in the UK).

17. A400M. We have established a bilateral joint user group to facilitate co-operation on A400M training to inform operating techniques and procedures for synthetic and live training. We will continue to develop a common support plan for our future A400M transport fleets. We expect industry to offer an affordable in service support solution. A contract will be negotiated with Airbus Military so that integrated support is in place for the arrival of the first French aircraft in 2013.

18. Submarine Technologies. A bilateral Memorandum of Understanding was signed in June 2011 to support our exchanges. We will pursue collaborative work to identify areas of technological cooperation and savings. We agreed to look at the feasibility of a co-development of specific sonar equipment.

19. Maritime Mine Countermeasures. We have aligned our plans for our future Maritime Mine Countermeasures capabilities. We agreed to take an incremental approach whose first major step will begin in 2013 with the development and realisation of a demonstrator/prototype of off board systems based on unmanned technologies. The Joint Project Office already established within OCCAR will begin a European competitive process in 2012 for a common assessment phase.

20. Satellite Communications. France and UK will look to confirm their intent to adopt a cooperative approach to meet their need for future COMSAT services, considering they will form a core asset in any Beyond Line of Sight capabilities in the future. A comparative study will be made by mid 2012 to analyse different architectural options.

21. 40mm cannon. We confirm our joint interest in the 40 mm CTA cannon that will equip armoured vehicle platforms. Effort will be made to assure qualification by 2013, jointly promote the export of this system and the elaboration of a NATO standard.

22. Counter IED. We recognise our shared interest to strengthen our bilateral cooperation on Counter-IED. A high degree of interoperability will be demanded and a Joint action plan will be elaborated in 2012 to cover cooperative opportunities in the operations/capability/R&T domains.

Defence industry

23. We recognise the commendable efforts by MBDA to develop the concept of One Complex Weapons sector and progress towards the aim of establishing a single European complex weapons prime contractor. We let a contract to MBDA in December 2011 for two initial studies on a future cruise and an anti-ship weapon. We intend to start a joint assessment phase during 2012 on Storm Shadow/Scalp enhancement. We intend to explore the feasibility of cooperation on future anti-surface tactical missiles through initial studies later this year. We aim to sign a contract and a MoU in the coming months for the development and manufacture of the Future Anti-ship Guided Weapon / Anti-Navire Leger program.

24. The object of efficiency savings up to 30% is reaffirmed.  We welcome the work towards the implementation of our 10 year strategic plan, optimizing our industries to meet our combined national and export needs efficiently and effectively. A first major step towards interdependence will be taken with the optimization of MBDA’s internal industrial capabilities and the adoption of balanced “Centres of Excellence” in specific engineering disciplines. The implementation of this industrial model is expected to require an inter-Governmental Agreement under the Lancaster Treaty, the scope and nature of which will be established during 2012.

Research and technology

25. The development of our joint research & technology program remains a priority. We will implement the road map on our 10 priority areas for collaborative research and take forward the UK-France PhD program we elaborated in 2010. A joint “2025 Key Technologies” identification plan will be developed by end of 2012 to light up our common strategic vision.

26. Further cooperation: In pursuance of identifying further opportunities for cooperation we will conduct a detailed comparison of our capability plans in the following four strategic areas: Intelligence Surveillance & Reconnaissance, Command & Control Information Systems, Tactical Airlift and Land Combat.

Defence nuclear cooperation

27. Building on last year’s successful cooperation on a joint facility at Valduc that will assist both countries in underwriting the safety and reliability of our respective nuclear weapons stockpiles, we have decided to explore opportunities for further collaboration in the nuclear field.

Cyber security

28. We noted the good progress that has been made on Cyber collaboration since our last Summit, and agreed to build on this and further deepen our cooperation in this important area for our defence and security.

Counter terrorism

29. The bilateral High Level Group (HLG) on Counter Terrorism - which has given greater strategic direction, co-ordination and impetus to the excellent co-operation between UK and French counter terrorism agencies - will continue its important work. Specifically we will:

  • expand existing arrangements for sharing information about the threat we face;
  • strengthen the security of our common borders, including by making operational very soon enhanced arrangements for screening traffic passing through the Channel Tunnel using our Radiological detection system, Cyclamen;
  • develop further our collaboration in the area of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear through sharing our specialist expertise and knowledge and through joint research and development projects in the area of defensive security;
  • develop our shared understanding of radicalisation and extremism, including by sharing our experience of approaches that have been successful in each country;
  • deepen co-operation in the field of aviation security; in particular developing the capability to conduct joint security assessments at airports outside the EU using a common assessment framework; and
  • deliver a more systematic and action-orientated bilateral co-operation in relation to priority third countries.

Olympics security

30. The UK and France are working closely together to ensure a safe and secure Olympic Games. The UK authorities are working with the French Olympic Security Coordinator to ensure that preparations and operational responses - aimed at the safe, secure and fluid movement of participants and visitors - are closely co-ordinated. In March 2012 we will conduct a joint exercise to test our response to a terrorist incident affecting both our interests. We will build on this through close bilateral co-operation on wider Olympics security planning and execution.

International security

31. Our discussions today have reflected our common approach to foreign policy developments which will affect us for a generation, including the Arab Spring and wider Middle East, and security challenges in Africa. We have focused in particular on Syria, Iran, Burma and Somalia.


32. The UK and France are deeply concerned at Iran’s nuclear proliferation activities, the possible military dimensions to its programme and its continuing violation of IAEA and UN Security Council Resolutions. We call on Iran to drop their preconditions for negotiations, and instead engage in meaningful and serious dialogue with the E3+3. We are assessing the reply by Iran to the letter of the High Representative for EU foreign and security policy. Until they implement their obligations under UN Security Council resolutions, the pressure on them will continue to increase. We welcome the decision by the EU and other likeminded countries to implement a phased oil ban and central bank asset freeze, and call on all countries to increase the peaceful pressure on Iran through targeted sanctions.


33. The UK and France remain concerned about the ongoing threats of terrorism and piracy emanating from Somalia, and the humanitarian crisis which threatens the people of Somalia. The transition in Somalia must end in August 2012; we should take this opportunity to make the political process broader and more inclusive. The UK and France call on partners to ensure the London Conference on Somalia on 23 February succeeds in agreeing a new, action-oriented international approach to building peace and stability in Somalia more effectively, in support of the efforts of the United Nations and African Union.

34. We will continue to support the EU counter piracy mission ATALANTA and the EU Training Mission for Somali Transitional Federal Government forces and will work together in the UN Security Council and the EU to secure an enhanced and sustainable African Union Mission in Somalia.  We will continue to work with partners to ensure sustained humanitarian and famine assistance to the people of Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa; and to reinforce the ability of Somalia and regional neighbours to tackle both the symptoms and the causes of piracy. The UK and France remain committed to the development of an EU capacity-building mission in 2012, in order to strengthen the ability of the people of Somalia and key neighbours to tackle piracy themselves and to bring pirates to justice effectively. We call for the activation of the EU Operations Centre on an ad hoc basis to support this specific effort.


35. The UK and France welcome the dialogue to date between President Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi, and stress that his continued active engagement with her and other key stakeholders will be key to the credibility of the reform process. Our assessment of the by-elections will be based upon the conduct of the full campaign period, and not just on election day itself. We welcome progress from Burmese authorities on release of some political prisoners and the agreements reached with some ethnic groups. We continue to urge the release of all political prisoners, and further dialogue with all ethnic groups, leading to a fully inclusive agreement leading to national reconciliation.

Foreign policy cooperation

36. The UK and France will continue to cooperate closely on the key foreign policy and security challenges we face now and in years to come. To underpin this, our Foreign Ministers have agreed to strengthen our bilateral working, including by intensifying exchanges and training staff jointly to build the foundations of future cooperation.  We have already started to increase secondments between our Foreign Ministries and will this summer pilot a programme of joint training for young French and British diplomats.


37. We have instructed the Senior Level Group to oversee further work and to report back to us at our next Summit to be held in the UK.

Updates to this page

Published 17 February 2012