Answering questions from MPs on the foreign affairs select committee, the Foreign Secretary, Ms Truss refused to be drawn on future security deals with Brussels. Ms Truss vowed to ensure there was “strengthened architecture” going forward to protect Europe from Russian aggression.
However, despite being pushed, she refused to give any indication of exactly what form future defence structures would take.
During negotiations on a post-Brexit Trade and Cooperation agreement in 2020, the UK and EU excluded provisions for a pact on continued defence and security.
Pressed on reopening discussions this afternoon, the SNP’s Stewart McDonald asked Ms Truss if plans to “strengthen security resistance in the Euro-Atlantic area” included signing a formal agreement between the UK and EU.
The Foreign Secretary said the EU was working very closely with NATO and that she supported “that close working continuing”, without directly addressing whether a future UK-EU deal was on the cards.
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“What I am talking about is much closer working between the EU with NATO and with broader allies as well as us strengthening our additional relationships,” she added when pushed on the matter.
“I would say the key part of the conversation is between the EU and NATO.
“I think that is the important way in which this is being done.
“We’re seeing very rapid changes across the EU, I’ve talked about Germany’s changes to its defence policy.”
Leaving the door open for a future deal with Brussels, she refused to rule out a new pact, saying she “wouldn’t jump ahead to what those structures may look like”.
The Foreign Secretary added: “My view is the West has to be united. We all have to work together.
“This has been a sudden change which has shaken the whole security architecture of the West.
“We will need over the coming months to ensure we have a strengthened architecture in place for the future.
“The UK is a core part of that as the largest defence spender in Europe, we are a core part of making that happen.”
More to follow…