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Germany and UK sign joint vision statement on defence

09 October 2018
UK Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson and German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen signed a joint vision statement in Germany and observed a demonstration of the UK-German combined river crossing capability in Minden. Source: Crown Copyright

UK Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson and German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen signed a joint vision statement in Germany on 5 October to increase defence co-operation between the two countries' militaries.

Von der Leyen said, "We want good co-operation, to even further intensify it, and to make our armed forces even more joint. This applies not only for the army, but also for the navy, air force, and cyber." The Bundeswehr added that Germany and the UK would co-operate in operations, support, medical services, doctrine, and concepts.

The two defence ministers visited the German Army's Armoured Brigade (Panzerbrigade) 21 in Augustdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Armoured Engineer Battalion (Panzerpionierbattailon) 130 in Minden, where British and German Army engineers jointly erected a bridge over the Weser River with an M3 amphibious bridging vehicle. Some 30 members of the British Army's 75 Engineer Regiment and 10 British M3s are based in Minden.

Von der Leyen described the joint German-UK bridging capability as "unique". She welcomed the UK's decision to keep the British Army in Germany beyond 2020 and said Germany would invest EUR18 million (USD20.7 million) in military infrastructure in Minden.

The Bundeswehr gave as other examples of military co-operation between Germany and the UK the certification of German warships in UK training centres and the Luftwaffe-Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Interoperability Enhancement Programme. An agreement on the latter was signed by the German inspector and chief of the air force, Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, and RAF chief of the air staff, Air Chief Marshal Stephen Hillier, in London on 18 September.

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