Cross-Channel strategic dialogue

This project investigates prospects for UK–France defence and security cooperation by considering strategic, operational and industrial issues.

The Franco-British Summit on 10 March 2023 marked a much-needed reset in bilateral cooperation, following years of strained relations. The two countries agreed on an ambitious yet pragmatic agenda regarding defence cooperation and it is crucial to ensure that Paris and London deliver on these commitments.

This project is a joint endeavour between Chatham House and the French Institute for International Affairs (IFRI). It brings together French and British policy and military officials, research experts from think tanks and academia, and defence industry representatives, to assess prospects for UK–France defence and security cooperation.

The first seminar Franco-British Cooperation in Light of the War in Ukraine focused on the new strategic environment and how to prepare for high-intensity warfare in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine. The ensuing IFRI-Chatham House report ​​​Rebooting the Entente: An Agenda for Renewed UK-France Defence Cooperation was published ahead of the March summit.

The second seminar, ‘Build back better: Shaping the future of Franco-British defence cooperation’, was hosted by Chatham House in October 2023. The event served as a working session, enabling participants to put forward policy recommendations for advancing the UK–France defence roadmap agreed at the summit, with a particular focus on industrial strategy, air combat and air defence, data-sharing, and operational cooperation between the two countries. Read a summary of the seminar’s discussion.

This project is led by Alice Billon-Galland and Elie Tenenbaum (Director, Security Studies Centre, IFRI). It is supported by MBDA, BAE Systems, Thalès, Airbus and Rolls-Royce.