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French Minister Of Defence

Volume 978: debated on Tuesday 12 February 1980

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14.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the French Minister of Defence regarding European co-operation in defence matters

Monsieur Bourges visited me in London on 28 January, and we discussed current strategic issues of concern to the West and defence equipment topics, including collaborative projects.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that there are possibilities of limited, although real, extensions of co-operation in this field between Britain and France for the benefit of this country's defence and the improvement of Anglo-French relations?

I certainly would say that. Links between France and NATO have been strengthened in the last five years, and French participation in joint exercises has grown. I am encouraged by those closer links, and am doing what I can further to encourage them.