Cameron hails new era of Franco-British military and nuclear co-operation
James Cusick is political correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. As an experienced member of the lobby, he has previously worked at The Sunday Times and the BBC. His career as a journalist has been split between print and television, including senior positions as producer with Sir David Frost and at BBC Newsnight. He is also an award-winning golf and travel writer, working for over a decade as the UK contributing editor for one of the USA’s leading golf magazines. He broadcasts regularly for the BBC and CNN. He lives in London.
Saturday 18 February 2012
At a meeting in Paris yesterday, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy agreed that Britain and France would strengthen their military and nuclear co-operation, create a joint command and control centre for armed operations, and speed the development of a new generation of battlefield drones.
The new Anglo-French civil nuclear agreements, potentially worth £10bn in the longer term, will create 1,500 jobs and bring in £500m in new commercial nuclear deals.
Rolls-Royce will benefit from a first-phase £400m share in the building of new nuclear plants. The firm will contribute power plants for the next generation of UK nuclear generators which were announced last year. It will also deliver components – initially worth £100m – for the reactors that will be assembled in the UK. France's nuclear specialist, Areva, will supply the cores.
The two governments announced they would also be working with the International Atomic Energy Agency to strengthen the international community's ability to deal with nuclear emergencies, such as the Fukushima disaster 11 months ago.
Last year the UK government confirmed eight sites where nuclear plants are likely to be built. Preparatory work, with a budget of £100m, has already started at Hinkley Point in Somerset – despite protests from environmental groups, which say Westminster has sidelined planning regulations.
Mr Cameron and Mr Sarkozy hinted that the new co-operation on nuclear power may be extended to both countries' defence policies.
Their announcement of a joint military command and control centre will cement the command roles Britain and France assumed over Libya last year, with United Nations approval. Mr Cameron described the combined role as a "real breakthrough" saying it would save money and improve the military capabilities of both countries.
BAE and Dassault, the French aircraft manufacturer, were given the go-ahead in Paris to collaborate in the development of new"fighter" drones.
The project, with a 2020 delivery date, comes after British and French military criticism that both countries relied too heavily on US Reaper MQ-9 drones. The new project aims to take the battle-field capabilities of drones, linked to both surveillance and attack, to a new level.
The Cameron-Sarkozy pact is likely to annoy both Eurosceptics in the UK, and the US defence establishment, which believed the previous Franco-British joint declaration on European defence, made in St Malo in 1998, challenged Nato's authority and balance.
The St Malo deal called on the European Union to play its full role on the international stage by creating both a common EU defence policy and "credible" EU defence force that would be able to respond to international crises.
Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way
Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat
Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down
Review: Witty banalities aside, the comedian has an authentic voice
The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon
- 1 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Chicago voter tells Obama 'don't touch my girlfriend' – Obama stays super smooth
Oscar Pistorius: The brutal prison life that awaits disgraced athlete
Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Raphael Ravenscroft dead: 'Baker Street' musician who played the most famous saxophone solo for just £27, dies aged 60
Darren Vann: Indiana man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear more
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Science teacher requi...
£36000 - £60000 per annum: Randstad Education Southampton: Our client are a we...
£22000 - £32000 per annum + TLR: Randstad Education Southampton: Our client is...