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EU defence cooperation after Brexit: what role for the UK?

The UK has traditionally played an ambivalent role in European security and defence policymaking. With Brexit, the EU loses one of its two serious military players. On the other hand, it has been liberated from the constraints imposed by London on the Common Security and Defence Policy, and this has created a new dynamism behind the defence project.

There has been comparatively little commentary on the defence implications of Brexit, and the UK has been less than forthcoming in making concrete proposals for an ongoing UK–EU partnership. Both sides assert that they wish to maintain a strong cooperative relationship after Brexit, but the outlines of such an arrangement remain very unclear.

This article suggests that the UK will have more to lose than the EU from any failure to reach agreement, and that UK ambivalence about links between the Common Security and Defence Policy and NATO will prove to be a major sticking point.

Read the full article in the December 2017 issue of the European View, the Martens Centre policy journal.