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Should Britain and France share defence strategy?

01:38 UK time, Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The UK and France have signed treaties agreeing to military co-operation including testing of nuclear warheads. Is this a good idea?

One centre will be set up in the UK to develop nuclear testing technology and another in France to carry it out. £750m will also be saved over four years on the Trident nuclear missile system by cutting the number of warheads.

Downing Street called the measures "practical", but Labour said they left "big questions" over the UK's defences.

Can the UK and France work together? Are shared defence strategies a good idea? Should more countries join forces on defence?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


Page 1 of 8

  • Comment number 1.

    Put simply, No.

    Attempts to adopt measures like this smack of manipulation by Brussels to further reduce our National Independence.

  • Comment number 2.

    Purely Ceremonial, UK and France have never been on the same page Militarily.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    The first timid step towards an EU defence policy? A confession that the UK's rusty, leaking, misconceived and undeliverable warheads need replacing but we haven't got the money or the brains to do atom science any more? Or, please, please, a giant leap away from Trident the American Albatross, the deterrent we can't use without asking Uncle Obama.

    And Dave: independence from what, exactly? I don't like La France as a nation one little bit, but I'd rather go down the tube a European than a wannabe Seppo.

  • Comment number 5.

    What message does nuclear test of this scale involving two major European powers is sending to the rest of the world? When we are hoping that one day a world free of nuclear head will be possible. Is UK and France becoming Iran and North Korea of Europe? On what moral ground has UK and France now to question the nuclear intent of Iran? This world is full of hypocrisies.
    May God save us from Iran, North Korea, UK and France, Nuclear axis, terrorist states!

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    Can Britain really trust the French or the EU?
    More dilution of the UK as independent power by the EU.
    Attack on several fronts and see what happens, The UK is weak politically therefore the game can be easily won at the moment!!!

  • Comment number 8.

    I don't know, on one side it's good because it means were going to continue to live with nuclear arms, which despite how bad people think and say they are, with other possible threats to the country, it's good to have. On the flip side though, with the partnership with another country with nuclear arms, there is always something risky there to keep us on the edge of our seats, and as pointed, we're not exactly been eye to eye with France in concerns to military.
    At the end of the day though, having this partnership and treaty with France may turn out to not be such a bad thing and have some good come from it, and lets face it, it take's the attention from the U.S, and more to the point, could you imagine if this treaty was with them. Now that would be a disaster in the making!

  • Comment number 9.

    The new British and French military cooperation provides a further necessary step towards developing a more cost effective, and more capable, combined military capability. It is a much needed step toward developing additional shared capabilities that are more able to serve the anticipated long term defence needs of the European Union.

  • Comment number 10.

    Jo_po;itical_spectacle wrote

    May God save us from Iran, North Korea, UK and France, Nuclear axis, terrorist states!
    You do have a concern but look back to WW2 when Britain adopted the pacifier approach. It nearly cost us the war.
    Peter D South Carolina

  • Comment number 11.

    And where exactly will this nuclear warhead testing take place?

    Salisbury Plain?

  • Comment number 12.

    Even nationalists should support a common defense strategy with France or other EU members. The reason? Costs for military technology have exploded. Aircraft carriers, nuclear weapons, and other defense technologies cost so much that, unless costs are shared, they're reaching the point where they can't be sustained by a strained national budget, like the one which faces the UK. Sharing costs is a way of maintaining military readiness that might otherwise have to be sacrificed for reasons of cost. So yes, shared strategies make sense for anyone who believes in a strong UK, nationalists included.

  • Comment number 13.

    Well, it's vital that we have agreements with the French over nuclear weapons, as the proximity of our countries demands it. Sharing these facilities allows potential savings, and ensures openness.
    Not quite sure what to make of the "joint expeditionary force"... i'm sure that there's bound to some sort of a language barrier there for the troops on the front lines...

  • Comment number 14.

    That's all the world need is more nuke testing to show how tough everybody is.
    Humanity still fails to move forward.
    forgive us Universe!
    we still have a lot to learn.

  • Comment number 15.

    I suppose collaboration with any other country is OK. If on Armistice Day, that is, we can say 'They died that Guantanamo Bay might be created, that rendition might be acceptable to all, that throwing hand-grenades into the homes of those we have invaded and to strafe those we have yet to invade using drones in case those we have invaded are hiding in that country is just fine.' Have we learned nothing from history?

  • Comment number 16.

    The globalisation brings many things together and a joint force is one of them and i think it is a good idea to cut military budget in current circumstances of economic downturn. In addition, sharing defence help strengthen deterrent capability.

  • Comment number 17.

    In a word - NO

    We ought not to entrust the defence of our country to faceless beauraucrats in Brussels - because this proposal is exactly that through the back-door!

  • Comment number 18.

    This article actually made me feel sick. Andy Kadir-Buxton is correct, Global warming is the greatest threat to humankind's existence on this planet - but yet our 'leaders' seem determined to not only avoid the issue, but also seem to want to help encourage our own demise by wasting valuable resources and time on creating nuclear weapons!!

    I would also like to put an open question to the UK and French governments. How will a nuclear weapon stop a terrorist attack? The US have nuclear weapons, but it didn't stop the twin-towers being knocked down. The UK have nuclear weapons, but it didn't stop buses in London being blown up.

    How are nuclear weapons a deterrent? Explain it to me and the population of the planet Earth please. In case you are not aware, we are now in the 21st Century and if we have any hope of reaching the 22nd, we need to stop politicking and start maturing. Or would that not be financially viable enough...?

    ps. Don't worry about Salisbury plain mate, they'll come down to the clean part of the world (south pacific) and dirty our waters instead!
    pps. The universe won't forgive us, it will remove us!

  • Comment number 19.

    A world free of nuclear heads is an utopia: The list of nuclear countries is increasing day by day. So why should we stop being realistic and let the others overtake us?
    As to the cooperation with France is for some a negative step can they sugest better ideas in this economic climate? For example Iran.

  • Comment number 20.

    Err not sure about this one ? loss of sovereignty springs to mind and more eu interference .. losing some of our armed forces then joining in with France ... personally i quite like the French but dont want to have joint ventures which gives them a vote on how we do things , they always go on strike as a nation to get what they want !! and our lot will always back down ( not cricket you know ) time we got some backbone back into the UK. who let us get into this awful mess ! bankrupting the country oh yes the opposition who instead of admitting they were in office when it all went pearshaped rant as if they had no hand in the downfall of the UK.well its time all our mps pulled together for the country and not their party .. UK first.

  • Comment number 21.

    Why on earth would the UK consider collaborating with the French? In the 18th century the French slaughtered their Royal family in the name of a Republic - at that point our two nations became irreversabely separated. In WW2 half of them sided with Germany. In recent history they have burned our lamb, beaten up our lorry drivers, blockaded our ports over fishing rights, had numerous strikes by Air Traffic controllers and vetoed just about everything supported by us. The French go on strike because their retirement age may be raised to 62, while Britain sniffs and goes about raising ours to 70. We have nothing in common with the French and the only time I would want to send 5,000 troops there would be with bayonets fixed.

  • Comment number 22.

    Is this a good idea?
    NO. Nukes are a very bad idea, pushed by a huge lobby called defence. Bad enough the power-stations, leave big-boy posturing to the boys.

  • Comment number 23.

    We have never been the best of friends with France. It does not seem to be in either party's best interest to share something so great as a battle force because as sure as anything boundaries will be tested and just because the present two leaders can find amicable ground does not mean that future ones will do the same. France is notoriously weak when the time comes to stand up and be counted. History books should be telling us something.The idea is wonderful and it is certainly a money-saver but maybe not in Britain's best interest. God placed the English channel there for a reason.

  • Comment number 24.

    " Downing Street called the measures "practical", but Labour said they left "big questions" over the UK's defences."

    Years of Labour rule left not only big questions about UK's defenses but also big holes in UK's defenses.

    As anybody can see.

  • Comment number 25.

    I just walked past St Pauls on the way to work. Im sure i heard Nelson spinning in his grave.

    What happens when our masters in the US tell us to go fight one of their illegal wars? I take it France will quickly run up the white flag while we send out boys off to die?

  • Comment number 26.

    To MercThrasher #4......what is a "wannabe Seppo" please?

    I am not sure what the French have done to make you dislike them so much as a nation but do I read into your comment that they are the lesser of two evils compared with the USA? Surely to go down the tube a European would mean being in bed with the French as well as all those other suspect nations?

  • Comment number 27.

    Is that going to be it then for our conventional forces? Two of Europes' most powerful nations combine forces to make a brigade, enough combat power to take and hold about 2 five story buildings. I can only imagine that the militaries of the emerging powers, India, China, Brazil look at that and tremble. I agree that a world without nuclear weapons would be nice but it seems we are backing ourselves into a corner and it may be the only deterrant we have. Alternativly we could send two empty aircraft carriers to steam menacingly in circles.

  • Comment number 28.

    Re #14 "That's all the world need is more nuke testing to show how tough everybody is.
    Humanity still fails to move forward."

    Well it does.

    If you had known anything about nuclear weapons and means of their delivery you'd have known that thanks to research and development 25-50 Megaton warheads of 1960s which could have caused a veritable holocaust had been replaced successively with 10-15 MT ones, then 3-5 MT ones, neutron bombs which do not destroy infractructure and environment, and tactical nuclear, precisely delivered (v. small CEP) warheads with an explosive power of 0.3 -1.0 kT.

    Which can destroy strategic targets (e.g. "bunker busters" developped to deal with such underground centers as Iranian Natanz enrichment facility withouth causing any damage to adjacent civilian areas.)

  • Comment number 29.

    21. At 06:43am on 02 Nov 2010, Scribbler99 wrote:
    ....The French go on strike because their retirement age may be raised to 62, while Britain sniffs and goes about raising ours to 70.
    Not true.
    Britain raised the (minimum) retirement age from 50 to 55 in April this year (and I sneaked out at the age of 52 in March).
    That said with all the French strikes, not to mention the great British tradition of completing things on time (? ha, ha) can anyone see this joint project actually producing anything (that works) ?

  • Comment number 30.

    I suppose anything is worth a try in these straightened times, but I can't see it working really, I can't see that we have much in common with the French, at all, let alone the military. I can see all sorts of mistakes occuring because of language difficulties and the french character trait, which is basically being difficult, and if they're from the cities expecially paris even more arrogant and self absorbed than Londoners and that takes some doing.

    I think the differences in national character could be a real cause for concern and some horrendous mess ups.

  • Comment number 31.

    Surprised at the comments here. Anglo-French military co-operation is nothing new; we fought side by side in the Crimea and considered joint intervention in the American Civil War. We managed to carve up Africa between ourselves without fighting a world war and then stood side by side when the Germans finally forced the issue in 1914. Admittedly, we swept aside in 1940 but the spirit of co-operation was there, sadly the French political leadership gave up too early.

    Questions of practicality remain; what language will the "expeditionary force" use? Will both sides have trained linguists at platoon level to co-ordinate operations? What small arms kit will they use? In what circumstances will the JEF be deployed? To stop another Rwanda? I'd support that.

  • Comment number 32.


  • Comment number 33.

    Another bit of our independence being chipped away. Come on Mr Cameron I thought that you were going to protect our soverignity. Just shows how far out of touch you are with the public mood.

  • Comment number 34.

    It doesn't really matter what we think - our clueless government does not listen to the people it's supposed to serve anyway......

    This government has been the final nail in the coffin of the UK political system.

  • Comment number 35.

    Wernt we promised a reforendum on any treaties the goverment sign that effect the soverenty of our nation?

    Surely this effects our soverenty as much as some of the items in the doomed EU tready, that with luck will have to be re-ratified to approve the new financial controls and we will finally get our vote.

    Come on boy wonder GIVE US A VOTE on handing our defence to france!

  • Comment number 36.

    It's time to end this pantomime of blaming everything on the global recession. I'm tired of the lies. I'm not stupid enough to believe it any more.

  • Comment number 37.

    They claim it has got nothing to do with the EU, but what they are doing is exactly what the EU has always preached. Integration is good, with or "without" the EU.

  • Comment number 38.

    The A400M is not a refuelling airctaft it is the new RAF Freight Transporter. Presume you mean the FSTA A330 Airbus for refuelling

  • Comment number 39.

    At least the French have aircraft compatible with aircraft carriers....maybe we could loan a couple until we get the F-35?

  • Comment number 40.

    Are all our boys going to learn french or will their lads learn english? It could make for some interesting radio communication when asking for artillery support. More importantly, who's rations will they eat? That could cause some rumbling in the ranks.

  • Comment number 41.

    Just remember the LAST british war ship sunk under enemy fire was distroyed by a French supplied and MAINTAINED missile

  • Comment number 42.

    So much for Smirky Cameron stating he wouldn't surrender "sovereignty" - and with the French!!!!!!! It looks as though he's surrendering manhood too!!

  • Comment number 43.

    People must be deluding themselves to think we can rely 100% on our own military after such cuts. What are we going to do to defend ourselves? Send a carrier force with no jets on them as would be the case?

    Like it or not the new US administration has made it very clear what they think of our 'special relationship', and cooperation with the French is not only necessary, it is inevitable. The only argument I see from certain right-ring tabloids is drivel such as 'Agincourt, Waterloo, Trafalgar - how can we rely on the French?'.

    Wake up! Henry V isn't our leader and we are not relying on Wellington to lead us to victory against the French. Military cooperation with our neighbours is a must in the 21st Century, and it is time to leave mindless xenophobia where it belongs - in the last century.

  • Comment number 44.

    Only if the US lets us use our 'free and independent' forces this way.

  • Comment number 45.

    Cameron, you and your coalition have made more U-turns than labour ever did, are you trying to hand over everything of ours to Brussels via the back door? Your manifesto promises was yet again another load of Bull**** with no intentions of sticking to any of them, enjoy your short term in office it will probably be your last, and thanks to your arrogance and ignorance the Tory party will yet again become her majestys loyal opposition for another 18 years.

  • Comment number 46.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 47.

    Not six months ago the Tories were still fighting tooth and nail to prevent formation of a European fighting force! Now they are planning to unite with France in a way which might make us the junior partner- so all of their jingoistic flag waving and call to, patriotism was the hot air most rational people believed it to be. Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel so there are none better qualified to claim then title than the ConDems- Cameron will brazen it out as usual- was this forced on him by Gordon Brown?

  • Comment number 48.

    I worked with the French Armed Forces during my time in Iraq, and they are a very professional outfit. Vastly superior to the US Armed Forces, with whom we always try and ally ourselves with. I found it far easier to work with thinking Frenchmen than with gung-ho kill everything Green Berets.
    English is the NATO-standard language, so there will be few barriers in that area. It could work and the international co-operation will do us a power of good, at the same time addressing funding problems that both nations face.

  • Comment number 49.

    Should more countries join forces on defence?

    In a sense - yes - they should ALL join forces. If all countries joined forces it would make the whole effort look pretty pointless and we would see a great saving on the current waste of resources.

    Will politicians ever have the wherewithal to back the United Nations?
    ... probably only after some global Armageddon and when many of us are frazzled corpses incapable of uttering that pearl of wisdom 'I told you so'.

  • Comment number 50.

    Nukes apart, it might be a god idea if we do form a strong military alliance with the French - they seem better than us at not being the lapdogs of the USA (remember the "french" fry boycott?). If we get into a treaty where it's more difficult for either country to run to the help (at vast expense both human and financial) of any other country that can blackmail us into it, that ought to be a bonus.

  • Comment number 51.

    Thanks to geography any enemy trying to reach the UK` is going to have to go accross Europe, particulary France to reach us.

    I have no problem with the French acting as a buffer zone against anti-UK agression.

    Its quite noble when you think about it....

  • Comment number 52.

    Can we please shut up about the special relationship. It's embarrassing hearing it constantly brought up. It doesn't exist.

    As for this being an attempt by Brussels to undermine our soverignty... last time I checked Paris was the capital of France and this is a bilateral agreement. Furthermore, it takes two to tango. We aren't being forced into anything. Even this Conservative, Euro-sceptic government thinks this is a good idea. It not only reduces costs, but increases security. Remember why international pacts and organisations such as the EU were formed and remember why we haven't seen a war in most of Europe for the last sixty years. A truly remarkable achievement.

  • Comment number 53.

    where`s camerons anti-european stance gone? in the last few days we have seen him give them another 450million pounds of british money to waste, they have told us we have to give prisoners a vote in elections and now he is signing up to the first steps to a european armed force,it seems to me he is following a all party master plan for full european integration which britain and england in particular DON`T WANT.

  • Comment number 54.

    No we should not sign agreement with France. Politicians have been trying to get the public behind plans for an EU combined army. Everyone was against it. We do not want to become more attached to the EU. This is the same thing done through the back door. If they still insist then their should be a referendum. Having a carrier using another countries planes is the worst idea I have ever heard. If for some reason, while in hostile action that the French did not agree with and they withdrew their aircraft. Our troops would be without air cover. You cannot force French airmen to engage hostiles if they decide not to.

  • Comment number 55.

    Dave666 wrote:

    "Put simply, No.

    Attempts to adopt measures like this smack of manipulation by Brussels to further reduce our National Independence."

    Far be it from me to come between anti-EU conspiracy theory and reality, but don't you think a consideration of the facts might be relevant? Britain and France account for 50% of defence budgets in the EU and about 65% of military research expenditure. It is obviously sensible for them to co-ordinate their effort and expense to some agreed degree. There is massive and pointless duplication of effort and consequent waste of large amounts of money. The only argument in favour of not co-operating is if you think the UK and France will ever go to war with each other. I need hardly point out that the very act of co-operation makes this even more unlikely than it is now.

  • Comment number 56.

    I tend to agree with 'angry_of_garston', of all the nations we might pair ourselves with, France is not the one you want covering your back. France's war strategy is to give in to aggressive behaviour and then wait for someone to liberate them. I'd not want to enter any conflict knowing my partner was already planning how to concede defeat.

  • Comment number 57.

    A union between France and the UK has been discussed behind closed doors ever since WWII, with serious negotiations taking place during the 1950's between Prime Ministers Guy Mollet and Sir Anthony Eden. Any progress on this has been smothered by the development of the EU. Now, with French and British displeasure at the eastern expansion of the EU, which is leaving Western Europe vulnerable to any future Russian resurgence, and the withdrawal of US troops who would otherwise be on hand to help deal with future incursions, it makes sense for there to be a more robust and official corporate military policy. As far as secrets are concerned, there are very few within NATO. Historically, France and the UK have been inextricably intertwined, with kings of one country frequently ruling all or part of the other, and ethnically the Northwest of France and the Southwest of England (with Scotland and Wales) are substantially Celtic, and the North of France and Southwest England are substantially Norman. Effectively, we are very much the same, although we spend a lot of time emphasising our (vive la) difference. It's about time we sat down together and established an entente that is more than cordiale, and began working together to face the new challenges and threats of the 21st century.

  • Comment number 58.

    No. Don't trust them.

  • Comment number 59.

    A breath of fresh air and reason from Spickle (post 52). Conversely it's depressing to see the Little Englanders out in such force airing their fond delusions that we are still some sort of empire and worldwide military force to be reckoned with. The truth is, those days are long past and as much as some folk may want to wrap themselves in the Union Flag and wave their copies of the Daily Mail at the smelly foreigners, the truth is we are a small country with few overseas possessions to defend, alternately hanging on to Uncle Sam's coat tails and reluctantly reliant on our partnership with Europe. This move is a welcome realisation from the Tories that our place in the world is as part of Europe and our military, political and economic interests are best served with them.

  • Comment number 60.

    Why on earth is ANY design and testing of warheads required. Do the designs of the last 30 years not work? Take the last design and make another if you need to...

    Of course they do, but the "military research" industry has powerful lobbying and gets money poured in its direction.

    What a waste in times of cuts...

  • Comment number 61.

    No No never.
    Are they looking for another bale out.
    White Flags and reverse gears to the front.

  • Comment number 62.

    I have to say its absolutely hilarious how many people on here can't tell the difference between a bi-lateral defence agreement with French and assimilation of the UK into a European super-state's armed forces.

    For the record this is a bi-lateral defence agreement.

    But please, carry on with all your indignant, self righteous rage.

    It raises a smile on a dull Tuesday morning.

  • Comment number 63.

    In 17. At 06:17am on 02 Nov 2010, Ivan Idea wrote:

    In a word - NO

    We ought not to entrust the defence of our country to faceless beauraucrats in Brussels - because this proposal is exactly that through the back-door!

    The "elephant in the room" here is that currently much of our "defence" appears to be tied to people in Washington DC. Brussels (or Paris) could hardly be anything other than an improvement on the status quo.

  • Comment number 64.

    I can't believe that some on here are thick enough to still subscribe to lowering carbon. This debate has nothing to do with your out dated global warming theories.

    This selling out of our independant control of our armed forces is a very big mistake. With Argentina making overtures towards the Falklands does this government really think the French would send their Navy to defend the islands ? We can spend billions on foreign aid but we can't find the money to defend ourselves while continually over stretching our current crop of servicemen and women. It's a massive cop out, might as well hand over the rest of our decisions to Brussels while we're at it.

    Why didn't we have a referendum for this ?

  • Comment number 65.

    Nuclear testing ? where ? in the south pacific perhaps ? well i think that Britain should protect New Zealands stance on a nuclear free South Seas , remember the rainbow warrior sinking?that was because France was testing Nukes in the South Pacific and New Zealand resisted (god defend NZ monarch Queen Elizabeth the second). I am sick to death of Britain signing pacts with the rest of the World and not with our kith and kin , if anything they should sign something promising not to nuke London if they dont bomb London.

  • Comment number 66.

    In 35. At 07:39am on 02 Nov 2010, icewombat wrote:

    Come on boy wonder GIVE US A VOTE on handing our defence to france!

    Shouldn't a vote about the war in Afghanistan come first? Anything else would appear to be something of a double standard.

  • Comment number 67.

    It would make a lot of sense.

    Both countries have centuries of history of highly effective forces, high training and superb discipline. We also have far more common interests that most Franco-phobes on here would like to admit (or probably even realise with their heads buried in the sand).

    So, yes - combined strategy and far more combined operations.

    (Oh, and for those people on here who think that the French are cowards, if it wasn't for the Channel, we too would have been taken over by the Germans in weeks in WW2. That 22 miles of water gave us the breathing space we needed and was an incredible barricade.)

  • Comment number 68.

    Closer cooperation with the French makes good sense in theory....just hope they don't strike when we need to refuel our colossal aircraft carriers.

  • Comment number 69.

    i meant Paris - London

  • Comment number 70.

    Should Britain and France share defence strategy?
    The UK and France are to sign a treaty agreeing to the joint development and testing of nuclear warheads. Is this a good idea?

    With France having quite a good defence strategy along with a good defence ability and the UK government scrapping our only aircraft carrier and our most versatile carrier and land based fighter aircraft, the Harriers, we don't appear to have very much of an option.

    However, shareing a defence strategy is one thing, which in these times of uncertainty with terrorist threats can only be to the two countries advantage - providing that doesn't lead to the coalition scrapping more of our defence forces!

    The testing of Nuclear warheads is a totally different matter all together. It is true that with the fueling of Irans Nuclear Reactor, and the dubious and doubtfull claims of that being for peacefull use only - especially as Iran is known to sponser terrorism, there does have to be a nuclear deterant.

    Quite frankly, the days of the East - West cold war were far more peacefull than the present days of terrorist threats.

  • Comment number 71.

    "The UK and France are to sign a treaty agreeing to the joint development and testing of nuclear warheads. Is this a good idea?"

    No. A good idea would have been to have signed a treaty agreeing to destroy the nuclear warheads.
    They are not much good in fighting terrorists anyway, and in future we might not have sounded so hypocritical when demanding that Iran cease nuclear development.

  • Comment number 72.

    I've seen the future folks - Eurasia is at war with Oceania - it has always been at war with Oceania, It has never been at war with Eastasia!

    Winston knew it was not possible for Eurasia to be at war with Eastasia because they had always been allies, although he had a vague lingering 'feeling' Oceania had been, in some distant mystic foggy past, at peace with Eurasia, and it might have been Eastasia who represented the evil enemy of our people! But he must have dreamed such an impossible thing!

    War is peace!

  • Comment number 73.

    Yes, it's been an obvious idea for a long time, and an an excellent one too. Let us hope it proves to be the first stage in the formation of a purely EU defence force, free from all the self-serving hegemonic American influences that NATO suffers from.

  • Comment number 74.

    1. At 04:04am on 02 Nov 2010, Dave666 wrote:

    Put simply, No.

    Attempts to adopt measures like this smack of manipulation by Brussels to further reduce our National Independence.

    Considering this issue is between Britain and France, and Brussels is in Belgium, what exactly is your point?

  • Comment number 75.

    I spy a European army but ssshhhh don't tell anyone. Lets just call it 'interoperability'...they'll never know....

  • Comment number 76.

    We cannot entrust the defence of our nation to anyone.

  • Comment number 77.

    The French, Post 1945, armaments industry is superb. Their designs and high quality products can only be of value to our Armed Forces. A very high percentage of their military objectives are the same as ours. Their aero-space programs are as good as they get. I think that the savings we would both achieve would be very noticable. A few recent trips to France have made me an admirer of their industrial power base. Along with their embracing of nuclear power - they have no energy shortages like we are headding towards. They tend to put common sense ahead of sentiment.

  • Comment number 78.

    I think it is a brilliant idea.

    It is true the French and the British public see each other as "a bit weird". But look what happened when the British and the French built Concorde. It was the most brilliant passenger jet ever. No-one else could mach it and even today nothing even begins to look as good.

    The French are clever and commited and it is a pity we cannot have more partnerships with the "Concorde enthusiasm". We have already proven that we can work well together.

  • Comment number 79.

    Would it be called sleeping with the enemy?

  • Comment number 80.

    Nearly a hundred responses and nobody has used the phrase "Cheese-eating surrender monkeys" - for shame !

    Seriously, I would rather we reduce our military spending and adjust our expectations of what we need to achieve with our armed services to fit what we can afford by ourselves. We should concentrate on defending our realm and territories and exerting influence beyond our borders only in so far as it directly benefits our country.

    The cross purposes that would arise from joint military efforts would make any attmept to take action mired in politics. Where would we have been when we went to war in Iraq for cheaper oil if we had to rely on the French to get us there ?

  • Comment number 81.

    Non, Non, Non...

    Will they come to our aid if we have Falklands War II, esspecially as there's supposed to be a lot of oil of the islands.

    We all know that any unpopular Argentinian Government turns their support around when they bang the Malvinas drum.

  • Comment number 82.

    Joint expeditionary force. Is the UK now to join in the French penchant for military adventurism in Francophone Africa ? What is the use of this brigade outside the auspices of the NATO or the UN ? French and UK military goals have rarely been aligned except in the case of invasions of France by Germany !

  • Comment number 83.

    Isn't it just obvious that this has to happen? I well remember the commander in the Falklands explaining that he simply had to have 2 "flat-tops" and would have to go away and think again if he lost one. Now Britain is dropping to one, with another in mothballs. France is in the same situation. Either they team up, or at most they can be part of an American force which could go on its own.
    The real question is whether the people of these 2 countries should fund all this for their politicians anyway. Each of Britain and France are economically twice Benelux, why do they need forces which are more then twice Benelux? How long can they compete in world while funding this luxury.

  • Comment number 84.

    Defence against what or whom, please?

    As to testing nuclear bombs - where do they intend to test them? Remember France testing nuclear bombs to see what effect they would have upon people? On their own people at home? Oh no - they did their testing in Africa. Even people from France went to Africa to protest against these tests.

    Amazing that political so-called leaders speak of peace while manufacturing greater quantities of weaponry, which are not and never have been, needed.

    To want to spend billions on weapons which kill people when cutting back on services which will save lives and cutting back on industrial production which vapourises jobs so that folks are unable to purchase basic necesities is insane.

    One might, therefore, consider the "leaders" insane.

    A bunch of psychopaths, I reckon.

  • Comment number 85.

    Can we really trust the French? I mean really? Look what they did with Rainbow Warrior and their subsequent bullying treatment of New Zealand. They are not just a little sensitive about their nuclear weapons and development.

    However, the UK stood behind the French on that occasion (which was effectively an act of war on New Zealand), so maybe another Conservative government would suit this relationship well.

  • Comment number 86.

    It makes common sense. We all live on the same rock (planet Earth) and France & UK are neighbours, separated by a 22mile channel of water. Neither is likely to be invaded (95% probability) but both would be threatened if such an unliklex event happened. Nationalism in the 21st century should be reserved for sport. We have evolved, slightly, from the battle of waterloo (won by an Irishman, the Duke of Wellington). Alliances are the way forward. Nationalism is the way backward.

  • Comment number 87.

    2. At 04:31am on 02 Nov 2010, lordBanners wrote:
    Purely Ceremonial, UK and France have never been on the same page Militarily.
    I'm not quite sure what you mean, but whichever way it's looked at it's completely wrong.
    As enemies nearly 200 years ago, the French were certainly on the same page for Wellington at Waterloo; remember 'A damn close run thing'? (and incidentally the fact that we were bailed out just in time by the Prussians? and that the King's German Legion heroically held the crucial centre ground for us at La Haye Sainte?)
    Technologically, have you never heard of the French '75'? or Vauban?
    As allies,have you never heard of the Crimean war, where the French did most of the fighting? Or the First World World War? or even Suez?
    And we've been collaborating bilaterally with the French for years in the design and production of military fixed wing aircraft (Jaguar) and military helicopters.
    Please make sure you know something about the subject before making such sweeping judgements.

  • Comment number 88.

  • Comment number 89.

    I suppose anything that gets us out of the aircraft carrier mess that Brown left behind has to be good news. One thing really concerns me however and that is what France's attitude would be if Argentina became threatening about the Falklands - one place where a conventional fleet with an aircraft carrier would be extremely useful. I know the Argentine economy is a basket case at the moment, but give it a few years and if there were major oil developments around the Falklands, then who knows. Our commercial interess could be very different from those of France.

  • Comment number 90.

    76. At 09:16am on 02 Nov 2010, Confuciousfred wrote:
    We cannot entrust the defence of our nation to anyone.

    Especially NOT the French and Germans! How surreal our NWO is!

  • Comment number 91.

    In 17. At 06:17am on 02 Nov 2010, Ivan Idea wrote:
    In a word - NO
    We ought not to entrust the defence of our country to faceless beauraucrats in Brussels - because this proposal is exactly that through the back-door!
    If you believe this you'll believe anything.

  • Comment number 92.

    AT US.

  • Comment number 93.

    Sounds like a ploy to wind up the Yanks to me.

    I wouldn't trust the French with developing anything, they will probably sell off the technology to hostile nations just to make money, as they usually do. They probably control most of the UK's domestic nuclear program anyway.

  • Comment number 94.

    This is so funny. All you Tory voters who believed the Tory lies about wanting to pull out of the EU and being absolutely against a united, common EU defence force and now what do you get from your own boy Cameron ? He's selling us out BIG TIME ! Wow - is this man EVER going to be able to keep just one promise ???? He's already getting rid of most of our armed forces and has left us vulnerable to attack by not replacing our ships etc in time. Now we no longer will have control of our own forces. Way to go Tories ! It's nice that the Tories can come and wreck our country, privatise all our industries, slash all our jobs and reduce our pay and pensions then they jet back to their foreign villas so it doesn't affect them at all - it just made them a few million pounds richer by destroying the UK economy and it's workers.
    Labour aren't looking too bad now are they ?

  • Comment number 95.

    Only on issues of mutual interest.

  • Comment number 96.

    All this talk about our two nations detesting each other is pure rubbish. We've not been at war with France since Waterloo - nearly two hundred years ago. The French are our closest neighbours and our friends, it's as simple as that.

  • Comment number 97.

    2. At 04:31am on 02 Nov 2010, lordBanners wrote:
    Purely Ceremonial, UK and France have never been on the same page Militarily.

    With the small exception of the Crimean war, WW1 and WW2. French troops were better equipped and fought better than the British troops in Norway in 1940.

    One of my personal heroes Pierre Clostermann:
    was a Frenchman who flew for the RAF during WW2 and ended up both one of the most decorated pilots of WW2 and the longest ever serving French MP. A few more Clostermann's would be very welcome at the moment,

  • Comment number 98.

    Remember the French army went on strike in WW1 leaving a huge gad in the line to be filled by the already battered British Army.

    Trust the French, never. Our history has been spent fighting them or saving them.

  • Comment number 99.

    If this had been suggested by the Labour Government the Tories would have been biting the rug in apoplectic rage!

    What a difference an election makes!

    I suppose such an arrangement would have the advantage that we could always deploy a crack team of french salesmen to supply both sides with weapons in a conflict!

  • Comment number 100.

    Calling France surrender monkeys is the equivalent of calling all German's nazis. It is pathetic.

    Why are we still playing with nuclear weapons in this century? Hasn't mankind learnt from it's mistakes? Don't we know the consequences? If we get targeted by a nuclear attack, I hardly think firing a barrage of them back is the best of ideas. How many innocent people suffer then? Nuke North Korea when it is a single family controlling the country. Nuke them back, kill more innocent people.

    It makes me sick to the stomach to be a citizen of the west when this kind of talk is in circulation.


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