General principles

Both the UK’s 2018 National Security Capability Review136 and the EU’s 2016 Global strategy make clear that the uK and EU face a range of ever-evolving security threats. To meet these shared security challenges we must ensure that we are constantly improving our capabilities and refining our approaches to combat them. We must also continue to protect our mutual interests and champion our common values of peace, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

UK-EU cooperation is fundamentally important to both European and global security; whether for fighting the ideologies of Daesh, developing a new global approach to migration, standing up to Russia’s hostile actions in Ukraine and in cyberspace, or tackling challenges of global poverty. ln all these cases, our success depends on a partnership that extends far beyond the institutional mechanisms for cooperation with the EU.

Therefore, our future partnership on foreign policy, security and defence must facilitate cooperation across all aspects of external relations, in particular:

  1. consultation and regular discussion on geographic and thematic foreign policy and defence issues and the global challenges we face;
  2. coordination where it is more effective to continue to work side by side to ensure the maximum possible impact and efficiency of our global actions; and
  3. capability development to deliver the means to tackle existing and future threats, including joint research and development and defence industry cooperation.

Each of these arrangements will need to be flexible and scalable to allow us to respond effectively to emerging threats and international crises.

The EU has a range of existing third country models for foreign policy, security and defence coordination, participation and alignment. However, none of these reflect the the UK’s unique position as a European country that shares the principles and values of the EU, as well as the significant assets, expertise, intelligence and capabilities that the UK, as a leading NATO Ally and permanent member of the UN Security Council, has to contribute to European security.

Future UK-EU foreign policy, security and defence cooperation will take various forms, and will require a combination of political and legal agreements. Cooperation may in places involve legal agreements, for example where the UK proposes to participate in EU programmes and agencies. ln other areas, meanwhile, such as foreign policy, the UK and EU will cooperate on a voluntary, case by case basis that reflects the sovereignty of the UK and the strategic autonomy of the EU. This will enable us to coordinate policy positions for maximum effect, where and when this is in the common interest.

Consultation and coordination

Effective consultation and dialogue is vital for an effective foreign policy partnership that will allow the UK and the EU to combine our foreign policy efforts around the world to the greatest effect. The future security partnership should therefore enable flexible responses to different situations and policy issues. lt should, for example, make provision for discussion between the EU27 leaders and the UK Prime Minister on the most important foreign policy challenges as they arise, underpinned by regular discussions between officials the UK, Member States and the European Commission, in particular the European External Action Service.

Consultation should also facilitate coordination in international organisations to promote and defend our shared values and discussion of objectives in specific theatres. UK-EU dialogue should enable the coordinated use of foreign poticy levers, including an option to agree shared positions andstatements, joint demarches and jointly organised events, such as the Human Rights Council or in response to international developments impacting on our shared security interests.

Our relationship should be underpinned by shared assessments and understanding. This means both the sharing of intelligence, such as through the EU lntelligence and Situation Centre (INTCEN), European Union Satellite Centre (SATCEN), and EU Military Staff lntelligence, and the sharing of expertise. The mutual exchange of official and military expertise across our foreign policy, security and defence partnership should provide the basis for close collaboration and benefit all parties.

Restrictive measures

The UK recognises that sanctions are a key multilateral foreign policy tool and most effective when designed and applied alongside international partners. The UK currently implements over 30 sanctions regimes targeting approximately 2,000 people or entities, around half are UN sanctions and the rest are EU-coordinated. The value of frozen assets in the UK as of 2016 is €12-5bn. As well as communicating a clear political signal, sanctions can be used to constrain or help effect a change in behaviour, for example by helping to bring lran to the negotiating table on its nuclear programme. For this reason, the UK has already committed to carry over all existing EU sanctions at the point of our departure.

The UK is currently developing national powers to impose sanctions, through the new Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill. These powers enable the UK to operate alongside existing partnerships, including with the EU.

In future, it will be in our mutual interest to be able to discuss sanctions policies, and to decide where and how to combine our efforts to the greatest effect. consultation and cooperation on sanctions should include:

  1. agreement to share information and technical support;
  2. consultation on future designations and regimes; and
  3. comprehensive collaboration when both the UK and EU are seeking to adopt mutually supportive sanctions, including in crisis situations.

Operations and missions

We will continue to collaborate with the EU and Member States on Defence and Security operations. The UK is – and will remain – a major global diplomatic (with a network of 270 posts) and defence (the UK provides 20% of the EU Force Catalogue) actor. The UK’s defence budget is the largest in Europe and the second largest in NATO. ln addition to conventional military operational activity, the UK Armed Forces are actively engaged in duties across the globe in work ranging from peacekeeping to providing humanitarian aid, from enforcing anti-terrorism measures to helping combat the international drugs trade.

NATO will remain the cornerstone of European defence and security, supported by strong multilateral (e.g. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) and bilateral alliances. However, the UK recognises that the EU has an important role to play: including helping to prevent crises in Europe’s neighbourhood, countering hybrid threats, enhancing resilience and stabilising post-conflict situations.

The UK remains committed to using its assets and capabilities alongside European partners where this is in our mutual interest. The UK’s participation in military and civilian missions and operations is an important component of that cooperation.

There are opportunities to build on existing precedents for third country participation, for example via an enhanced Framework Participation Agreement. Our involvement would be decided for each operation so as not to prejudice the autonomy of the EU or the sovereignty of the UK.

UK collaboration could range from the provision of expertise and intelligence, to the deployment of personnel, specialist assets and operational enablers, such as strategic airlift. The UK could also offer to host Operational Headquarters (OHQ), and consider future contributions to EU Battlegroups.

As the UK will no longer be members of the fora where operations are planned and discussed, a new framework for consultation will be needed with the Political and Security Committee (PSC) and European Union Military committee (EUMC) in informal sessions; and joint and shared horizon scanning and analysis through EU Military staff and INTCEN liaison.

Any decision to deploy UK Armed Forces must be taken on the basis of adequate information and consultation. This is the case for the UK in any international or coalition operation. Where the UK plans to make or renew a significant contribution, the UK and the EU will need to develop and agree mandates at the [X] planning stage, and the uK will require sufficient oversight, including access to documents, over operational planning.

In times of crisis, intensified consultation would be in both sides’ interests to enable close cooperation on development of mandates prior to launch or a UK contribution to operational planning.

Capability development

Working together on defence and security capabilities will ensure that our armed forces remain able to work together closely on operations; that we make best use of our defence budgets; and that we support the innovation and competitiveness of the European defence industrial base, putting European defence industry in the best place to compete in the global market.

The future security partnership should enable broad areas of UK-EU collaboration:

  1. consultation on capability priorities and the sharing of expertise and knowledge via regular dialogue;
  2. collaboration now and in the futur:e on specific projects.

We believe that future UK participation in European Defence Agency (EDA) programmes will be beneficial for both the UK and EU, to maintain our strong defence industrial base and enhance European security. There are precedents for third party collaboration with the EDA that the UK would look to build on, for example via a third country Administrative Arrangement (AA). The UK is also willing to remain part of the EU’s Force Catalogue to support the EU’s assessment of its capability requirements,

[Placeholder for arms export controls] There are also mutual benefits to continued cooperation on export controls for armaments. For example consultation and information sharing on licence denials for military and dual-use items and simplified procedures for movement of military and dual-use items between the UK and EU and between the EU and UK.


The UK and the EU are both global development actors – two of the largest in the world – and we will continue to share the same overall objectives after we leave the European Union: to eradicate poverty and to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. The UK’s remains firmly committed to the UN’s 0.7% aid target and to working with bilateral and multilateral partners to deliver the best development impact where it is most needed. We believe it makes sense for the UK to be able to join with the EU in addressing specific development challenges, on a case by case basis, drawing on our individual and combined expertise and resources.

Once we have left the EU, the UK will no longer provide wholesale funding to EU programmes, and so will have more control over where and how it’s money is spent. We will be able to focus UK aid on geographical and thematic areas where development is most needed.

So we should continue to cooperate and tackle challenges together. By drawing on our shared expertise and by coordinating our collective resources we can improve our effectiveness and get better value for money.

This would be particularly valuable for our work on migration, peace and stability, and on humanitarian crises.

UK cooperation could either take the form of participation in specific EU instruments or it could be something more bespoke. lt would need to be accompanied by an appropriate level of governance and oversight. This includes a role in setting operational and strategic direction, as well as eligibility for UK organisations to deliver EU programmes and apply for funding from programmes to which we contribute.


The UK has been a key contributor to the EU’s Galileo programme. We recognise the benefits of a global standard satellite navigation capability. Continued UK EU collaboration on Galileo is mutually beneficial, guaranteeing access to the UK’s investment and expertise and demonstrating our support for the global competitiveness of the European space sector, industrial collaboration and military interoperability.

Our partnership in this area is dependent on:

  1. the UK retaining ongoing access to Public Regulated Service (PRS) information;
  2. a right for UK entities to compete fairly for PRS-related contracts;
  3. a Galileo cooperation agreement, permifting a partnership with the programme and collaboration in its’open’ elements;
  4. an information sharing agreement facilitating the exchange of sensitive security-related information; and
  5. a PRS access agreement that provides for UK participation in the development of the secure, encrypted signal.

Without such an agreement, Galileo would no longer meet our basic security requirements and would deprive us of the ability to compete on a fair basis. The UK would be forced to pull out of the programme and consider alternative options that could meet our need for secure and resilient position, navigation and timing information, including developing a UK satellite navigation system.