theresa may emmanuel macron angela merkel walking Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images

Sustaining Europe’s Security Trio

Credible joint initiatives by France, Germany, and the UK will have a greater international impact than a common European position emanating from a debate in the EU’s Political and Security Committee. Fostering deeper collaboration among the EU's "big three" must therefore remain at the top of the agenda before and after Brexit.

BERLIN – Despite the tensions generated by Brexit, the leaders of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have stood together in disputes between the European Union and the United States. If their unity can be sustained, Europe’s “big three” (E3) will serve the EU very well in a tumultuous future.

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and UK Prime Minister Theresa May seem to have read from the same script regarding US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and his rejection of the final communiqué of the G7 summit in June. They all disapprove of Trump’s decisions to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and to withdraw the US from the United Nations Human Rights Council. And they have all criticized his escalating trade war with China.

This unity is not merely rhetorical. The UK has lately supported EU integration projects concerning foreign and security policy – much more so than before the Brexit referendum. This includes the decision to establish new headquarters for military training missions – which many view as the nucleus for a potential European military – in Africa. Britain had long resisted this initiative.

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