World View: Britain and France Renew 1904 Entente Cordiale with Military Agreement

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Britain and France renew 1904 Entente Cordiale with new military agreement
  • Britain will pay £44.5 million to renew the Le Touquet migration agreement

Britain and France renew 1904 Entente Cordiale with new military agreement

Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May meeting at Sandhurst Military Academy on Thursday (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

On Thursday, France’s president Emmanuel Macron visited Britain’s prime minister Theresa May at Sandhurst Military Academy near London, where they announced a collection of military agreements.

The agreements are being described as a new Entente Cordiale (“Friendly Agreement”). This refers to an agreement that the two countries signed on April 8, 1904, resolving long-standing colonial disputes in North Africa, and creating a united front against Germany a decade before the Great War (World War I) began. Under the agreement, France recognized Britain’s control over Egypt, and Britain recognized France’s control over Morocco. When the German government sent Kaiser Wilhelm II to Morocco in March 1905 to challenge France’s hegemony there, Britain sided with France.

The new agreement creates a military alliance between the two largest military powers in Europe, the only two nuclear powers in Europe, and Europe’s two permanent members of the United States Security Council. With Britain leaving the European Union, it was felt that this bilateral alliance between the two countries takes on increased importance.

The elements of the agreement include the following:

  • In 2019, Britain will send three RAF CH-47 Chinook transport heavy lift helicopters to provide logistical support to Operation Barkhane, the French operation targeting jihadists in Mali and the African Sahel, along with 50-60 support staff.
  • France and Britain will deepen their operational cooperation in Estonia. In 2019, France will send troops to join the UK-led battle group in Estonia where 800 British soldiers are helping to guard Nato’s eastern flank with Russia, as a “proportionate response to Russia’s more assertive foreign policy and military activity.”
  • By 2020, Britain and France will achieve full operating capability for a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force of 10,000 that will be ready to deploy “quickly and effectively to face any threat.”
  • Britain’s intelligence agencies – MI5, MI6, GCHQ – will work more closely together with their French counterparts — DGSE and DGSI.

According to May, “Together we will continue to play a full role to improve the security of the continent.” BBC and UK-France Security and Defense Agreement (PDF) and and International Business Times

Britain will pay £44.5 million to renew the Le Touquet migration agreement

As we described two days ago, France’s president Emmanuel Macron is demanding additional payment from Britain to continue the Le Touquet agreement.

The Le Touquet Agreement was signed in February 2003, and it grants a small region of France’s land in Calais to Britain, so that Britain can set up border controls on the French side of the English Channel, rather than on the British side.

Without the Le Touquet Agreement, migrants arriving in Calais could travel to Britain with no hindrance. With the agreement, migrants arriving in Calais are on British soil as they approach the Channel Tunnel, and so they are subject to British border controls before they ever cross the Channel. It is generally agreed that this arrangement has prevented huge waves of migrants from crossing the Channel to reach Britain.

However, French officials have long complained that they bear the economic consequences of the Le Touquet agreement. Thousands of migrants have traveled from countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan to Calais in hopes of crossing the Channel, but instead they get stopped in Calais, and the Calais authorities become responsible for providing humane treatment and dealing with any associated crime, as well as migrant camps like The Jungle. Without the agreement, they would simply travel on to Dover, and Britain would have all those problems.

So on Thursday, Britain’s prime minister Theresa May agree to invest £44.5 million ($62 million) to reinforce security measures in Calais, including fencing, CCTV, and detection technology.

Britain also committed to taking in a higher proportion of migrants than they have in the past. In particular, they will resettle 480 unaccompanied children currently in Calais. France 24 and BBC and Reuters and BBC

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Britain, France, Entente Cordiale, Emmanuel Macron, Theresa May, Sandhurst Military Academy, Egypt, Morocco, Germany, Mali, Sahel, Estonia, MI5, MI6, GCHQ, DGSE, DGSI, Calais, Le Touquet agreement, English Channel, Dover
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