Times: Netherlands To Propose Defence Deal To UK
Acting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will propose to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to conclude a defence and security cooperation agreement with the European Union, The Times has reported, citing sources. According to them, the initiative will be announced at the meeting of the prime ministers.
As the newspaper specifies, Mr. Johnson rejected defence talks last year, but now Europe believes the British government is « open to the idea following US behaviour in Afghanistan ». « Afghanistan is a catalyst for further discussion of European defence cooperation, preferably with UK involvement. Few European leaders have kept in touch with Johnson since Brexit. It is important to look at geopolitics without division and need to work with the UK, » one of the paper’s sources said.
According to the newspaper, France and Germany support the initiative. The Times specifies that the governments of the Netherlands, France and other European countries are in favour of working more closely with the UK « to overcome Europe’s dependence on the US » for air transport, as well as for the evacuation of citizens and the provision of emergency humanitarian aid.
On 15 September, the US, UK and Australia announced creation of the defence alliance AUKUS. As part of the arrangements, Australia will equip nuclear-powered submarines without nuclear weapons. It will also purchase US Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles. Because of AUKUS, Australia decided to withdraw from a $66 billion submarine-building agreement with France.