A 20-point post-Brexit joint declaration of cooperation between Britain and Germany has been agreed reinforcing their commitment to the “strategic unity of Europe”.
The agreement which has been under preparation for some time, reflects Germany’s strong desire to maintain close relations with the UK despite its disappointment at Brexit. The announcement comes ahead of Friday’s visit to the UK by the outgoing German chancellor Angela Merkel, during which she will meet the Prime Minister and the Queen.
The two sides have agreed to set up a new strategic dialogue that will involve the foreign ministers and political directors from both countries meeting once a year for a specific bilateral summit. It is probably the first of three bilateral agreements that the UK intends to seal with its largest European partners, which also include France and Italy.
The joint declaration clearly demonstrates that the UK does not wish to cut itself off from its main European partners on defence and foreign policy, even though it has firmly refused to negotiate a collective foreign and defence cooperation agreement with the European Union.
Germany for its part will hope the deal can form a building block towards securing stronger defence and foreign policy cooperation in the longer term. It contains a commitment that it will maintain full transparency with the EU about its relations with the UK.
The overall theme of the document is that the two countries will work together as key defenders of the multilateral rules-based system.