The Case for a New WEU: European Defence After Brexit

Report produced from TRD Policy Research

Published by Charles Tannock MEP

Pro-EU Tory MEP Charles Tannock has used our research to publish his report The Case for a New WEU: European Defence After Brexit. He argues that recreating the WEU (an defence organisation that was abolished in 2011, its functions having been absorbed into the EU's CFSP and CSDP) is the best way to ensure that the UK and EU can contintue to cooperate in defence After Brexit.

Mr Tannock argues that

At present neither the EU nor the UK can agree on the terms of such cooperation. While the EU is willing for the UK to be involved in CFSP/CSDP as a “third country” (like Norway is, for example), the UK believes the scale of its contribution to European security and defence means it should be able to take part in shaping common European defence policy and has repeatedly proposed as much in the Brexit negotiations, in addition to UK operational work with military partners (e.g. France and Poland) established under bilateral security treaties. The EU however considers that such a proposal would give a non-EU member state too much say over EU defence and security policy.

To break this impasse, this paper develops the idea, I mentioned in my 2017 report Brexit: The security dimension, to revive the Western European Union (WEU). It assesses it against a background of advances in European defence integration and the state of the Brexit negotiations, and compares it to alternative ways of managing the EU-UK defence relationship: including as an element of a comprehensive EU-UK partnership, an Article 217 Association Agreement like Ukraine’s and through a European Pillar within NATO.

Download the full report (PDF).