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Military Co-operation with France

Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 5 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the extent is of UK military co-operation with France. (82305)

[holding answer 4 July 2006]: At the recent UK-France summit on 9 June, the United Kingdom and France re-affirmed their shared commitment to act together against evolving threats and challenges to our security and defence and to that of our allies and partners. An important element of this is the long-standing military co-operation between our armed forces, who currently work together on operations and regular exercises, and in the fields of concepts, doctrine and training. This collaboration is undertaken both bilaterally and through multilateral organisations such as NATO and the EU.

Our armed forces co-operate on operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Bosnia. Other recent interaction includes:

Routine integration of Royal Navy and French Navy ships into respective Task Group deployments, most recently in the UK Naval Task Group Deployment AQUILA 2006 and the French Carrier Task Group

AGAPANTHE 06, which deployed to the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Gulf regions.

British Army staff officers attached to the French Rapid Reaction Corps Headquarters in Lille where they contribute to French work on achieving NATO Response Force readiness.

The Royal Air Force and French Air Force combining to provide a Joint Force Air Component Headquarters, and substantial force elements, for NATO Response Forces 5 and 6.

Agreement to co-operate in establishing a network of Peace Support Training Centres in Africa.

This close and highly valued military relationship is fostered through regular dialogue at all levels from the Chief of the Defence Staff downwards and underpinned by bilateral agreements and letters of intent. There is also a network of exchange and liaison officers across all three services. The continuation of our excellent military relationship with France will remain important as we work together to tackle the challenges ahead.