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At a bilateral summit in London on November 2 last year, Britain and France embarked on what their leaders described as a "new chapter" in defence co-operation. British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced a series of ambitious joint initiatives, including the shared use of aircraft carriers, collaborative research for their nuclear deterrents and the creation of a joint expeditionary force.
Both countries – and Britain in particular – are keen to find savings at a time of fiscal austerity. The summit was a welcome step towards rationalising European defence spending. At a time of significant public spending cuts, similar efforts will be required from other European countries in order to stall the deterioration of Europe’s military capabilities.Yet it is unclear whether other governments will follow suit.