Skip to main content

Leaving the EU: Defence

Volume 621: debated on Tuesday 21 February 2017

9. What plans he has for co-operating with EU countries on defence policy after the UK has left the EU. (908811)

We are strongly committed to European scrutiny and will remain so after we leave the EU. NATO remains the cornerstone of our defence, and we will continue to play our full part in supporting European security, particularly in eastern Europe.

I welcome my right hon. Friend’s commitment to NATO, but does he not find it as depressing as I do that while other EU countries are completely obsessed with creating an EU defence identity, they are failing miserably to meet their NATO requirement of spending a minimum of 2% of their GDP on defence? Is not the foot-dragging by Germany, the richest country in Europe, and its refusal to honour that commitment until 2024 particularly perverse?

We continue to make it clear that nothing should cut across NATO’s role as the cornerstone of European defence. Other parties’ contributions being fairly distributed to NATO would make sure that NATO can remain the force it needs to be.

The Foreign Secretary mentioned the sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine. Will the Minister confirm that even when we leave the EU it will be open to us to democratically agree such sanctions with the rest of the EU where it is in our mutual interest?

That is not specifically a question about defence policy, as on the Order Paper, but none the less I can reassure the hon. Lady that the answer is yes. Some kind of parallel structure for implementing sanctions will be required and I am sure will be agreed.