UK Cameron’s France visit to highlight EU security benefits

Cameron’s France visit to highlight EU security benefits

British Prime Minister David Cameron.
British Prime Minister David Cameron.

British Prime Minister David Cameron will use a visit to France on Thursday to argue that Britain’s continued EU membership boosts security, a case likely to be supported by his host President Francois Hollande.

Cameron has called a referendum on British membership of the European Union for June 23 and his campaign for the “In” camp is backed by other leaders of the 28-nation bloc.

“I am convinced that the UK’s membership of the EU gives us greater security and greater capacity to project power globally,” Cameron said in comments released by his office before the meeting in Amiens, 120 km (75 miles) north of Paris.

“In an ever-more uncertain world, we gain from our membership of these international organizations.”

Cameron said the first Franco-British summit since Islamic State attacks killed 130 people in Paris last November was “an opportunity to discuss how we can work even more closely together to keep our people safe”.

This is likely to include closer police and security cooperation and more sharing of information.

Counter-terrorism, Europe’s migration crisis and the conflicts in Syria and Libya also are expected to be discussed at the summit, which the French and British foreign, interior and defense ministers will also attend.

Cameron and Hollande are likely to make a new call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and his allies, including Russia, to stop targeting moderate opposition forces in Syria. Moscow says its air strikes in Syria are aimed only against Islamic State militants.

The two leaders are expected to announce a 1.5 billion pounds ($2.11 billion) project to build a prototype of the next generation of unmanned aircraft, to which each side will contribute about 750 million pounds, building on a 120-million-pound joint feasibility study undertaken after the last summit between Britain and France in 2014.

The Future Combat Air System project is designed to give the two countries the most advanced vehicle of its kind in Europe.

British companies including BAE systems, Selex ES and Rolls Royce and Dassault Aviation, SNECMA/Safran and Thales in France are expected to benefit from the project.