While the UK battles internally, as well as in the EU for a good Brexit deal, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and France’s President Emmanuel Macron met at Sandringham to discuss and agree on a joint European military initiative for securing the future of both countries.
After President Macron visited Sandhurst Military Academy, the pair stated that they are committed to combining a force of 10,000 soldiers by 2020 as a show of unity and force.
Prime Minister May stated to the press that the UK and France were “Europe’s two foremost military powers” she continued and said that it is “incumbent on us to demonstrate leadership in meeting the great challenges of our time and upholding the international rules-based system. Together we will continue to play a full role to improve the security of the continent.”
She also confirmed that the Bayeux tapestry, which depicts the famous battle between William, the Norman King that defeated Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, will come to the UK in 2022 after hanging i950 years in France.
Among the many issues discussed was the reinforcement of Calais port, situated in the West of France and of major concern as it is the closest French port to the UK and poses a major illegal immigration point. The UK pledged a £44.5 million investment package to help France tighten port security.
President Macron told reporters that France and Britain historically have “some very strong bonds” and that “We are facing common challenges and we are sharing the same destiny.” The president went on to claim that the Brexit process will not affect the defense and security collaboration between the two countries, even when “challenged or revisited or impacted” by the vote for Brexit. The president strengthened this statement when he referred to the British cooperation for supporting France in Africa’s Sahel area (South Sahara) when the British sent helicopters to support French troops in their fight against Islamic extremists. He told reporters that the action was “a very important commitment and contribution, a strong token of your commitment and our joint willingness to work together and fight together for security.”
May said that the cooperation would be in all areas that either country feels needs attention, including the British intervention in Estonia, supporting the Estonians against Russian aggression.
The meeting in Sandringham was a special occasion for both countries; it is the first time that both nations secret services (MI5, MI6, GCHQ and France’s DGSE ) admit having met to discuss cooperation issues. According to both leaders, Brexit will not impact other pacts between the UK and France. The Le Touquet agreement will remain in force, allowing border officials of both countries to be posted on either side of the channel.
The meeting came after PM May invited president Macron to a British pub lunch at the Royal Oak pub in Paley Street, which is located in Mrs. May’s Maidenhead constituency.
Calais and Migrants
The investment that Britain will provide to the Port of Calais will be in fencing, CCTV, and detection technologies. Part of the money will also be used to help the French relocate migrants to other parts of France, further away from the port. On the other side of the coin, Britain will take 480 child refugees as part of a resettlement agreement under the Dubs scheme.
Cyber Security and Terrorism
One of the joint intelligence issue discussed was cybersecurity and watching out for terrorist communications via the internet. Both sides want to avoid future mass slaughters such as the Bataclan and Manchester Arena terrorist attacks.
President Macron promotes the concept of a “European intervention initiative,” which means a joint military force of European countries. While Britain might be in the process of Brexit, it will remain a European country, and President Macron hopes and expects for future cooperation with Britain.
Brexit is Britain’s way to get out of a European economic and commercial stranglehold. It allows the UK to breathe and grow without the oversight of some meddling politicians from other countries that do not have the UK’s interest at heart. While there is a lot of pros and con Brexit going about in the media, the bottom line is that after Brexit, the UK will have trade and cooperation deal with every European country, similar to how Switzerland and other non-EU nations have. The UK existed before the EU and will continue to thrive after it. This meeting between France and Britain proves that the fear mongers are wasting time, instead of helping to strengthen negotiations they are hampering the British government from realizing its full potential.