The United Kingdom’s contribution to European security and defence

Defence and security can potentially be positive elements in the story of the British exit from the EU. Brexit will not alter geography. The UK is a power of great importance to European security and defence. Every significant security and defence challenge for EU member-state capitals will also be a concern for London. Therefore, the challenge is to find pragmatic solutions and policies that enable the EU member states and the UK to work together for the security of their citizens. In the EU, France and the UK come closest to playing a full-spectrum security and defence role. The UK makes a leading contribution to European security through intelligence collection and analysis in support of both law enforcement, in particular counter-terrorism operations, and the full spectrum of military operations. The British armed forces remain among Europe’s most capable fighting forces. In contrast to many of their continental counterparts, they have particular strengths in the high-end war-fighting spectrum, but also in their ability to provide scarce enablers to international operations, and in the field of defence capacity building. Like the UK’s diplomats, its armed forces have considerable reach and existing relationships beyond Europe.

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