As Ben Wallace prepares to meet the French minister, Britain is working hard to make European friends.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace will meet his French counterpart Florence Parly for the first time since it was canceled last month.
After the announcement of the Aukus Defense Treaty between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, France canceled the September 23 conference and major defense summit organized by the Franco-French Council.
After growing concerns about French President Emmanuel Macron’s willingness to establish what is known as European strategic autonomy, which some say could undermine NATO’s position, Britain has spent the past month systematically demonstrating its commitment to its European allies, Eastern Europe and Italy.
A reminder of the UK’s role as a global power: “Sources believe that a ‘good European neighbour’ has also eased the tense negotiations over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
After tens of thousands of soldiers gathered along the Ukrainian border in April, NATO military ministers will meet next week to assess the possibility of further Russian aggression.
A senior MoD source said: “While it is true that our European commitments are being put to good use in the current situation with France, it is important to remember that elements such as the Combined Expeditionary Force, a UK-led initiative that includes nine countries in Northern Europe already.
“It shows how much priority we have always given to the Far North and the Euro-Atlantic.”
Secretary of State Liz Truss has led the effort on two fronts, signing a joint declaration with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania earlier this month affirming their commitment to security cooperation in the Baltic states and pledging closer economic ties.
She also met fellow Italian Luigi Di Maio to strike a new agreement to improve exports and investments between the two countries, which already have a trade surplus of £38 billion.
A source from the FCDO said, “The closer diplomatic, economic and defense relations with the Baltic countries is a key aspect of Lees’ plan to promote and defend freedom and democracy.” It considers them indispensable friends to confront the malign actors and affirm the value of NATO because they are on the verge of freedom.
“His tenure as foreign minister will be marked by closer relations with the Three Balts.”
“The government is trying to make connections with countries that are generally unhappy,” James Rogers of the Geostrategic Council said last night.
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