George Robertson, an ex-Labour defence minister and NATO secretary general, described France and the UK as “close allies,” insisting the strategic importance of their relationship is greater than Brexit.
Calling for Britain’s security cooperation with Europe to be maintained post-Brexit, Lord Robertson said, “I don’t think [security] should be part of the bartering to do with trade. There is a clear identifiable interest here in terms of security. Brexit does not change geography.”
Furthermore, he said the two “close neighbours” have common threats, noting that they account for around 60 percent of Europe’s “defence capability.”
“I think that the Trump administration has underscored the need for Europe to do more in its own interests and the [midterm election] result doesn’t do anything but underscore the fact that there is an unpredictability about American foreign policy which should drive Europe to do more in its own interests,” he added.
Lord Robertson also warned that some European countries are “nervous about the ultimate American support” due to President Donald Trump’s criticism of many EU states not spending enough on their militaries, as per NATO guidelines.
Reaffirming the importance of France and Britain maintaining defence ties, the former NATO secretary general said the UK’s withdrawal from the EU must not jeopardize their relationship, especially “given what America is doing at the moment.”
“It needs to be strengthened, improved and reinforced.”
Meanwhile, former French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has called on Britain and France to work together to “hedge against Trump” instead of allowing relations to deteriorate further as a result of Brexit.
Cazeneuve currently heads a task force exploring European relations and the continent’s exposure to Washington’s unpredictable foreign policy.
South Africa Today – World News – United States