The Ambivalence of British Arms Policy Towards Europe
Samuel B. H. Faure
Published in the context of Brexit, this research paper analyses the ‘double relationship’ between Britain and Europe: being ‘in’ by taking part in co-operation with other European states, and at the same time being ‘out’ by staying away from or even leaving multilateral programmes in Europe. This dilemma is worked on from the case of defence procurement policy. How does the British government decide to be both ‘in’ and ‘out’ of Europe by participating in the A400M military transport aircraft programme and withdrawing from the EuroMale UAV programme? Based on exclusive data, the decision in favour of the A400M (‘in’) is explained by the action of political, administrative and industrial actors who perceive the A400M as a ‘truck’ rather than a ‘race car’. As for the British State’s decision not to participate in the EuroMale programme (‘out’), it is conditioned by a weakening of the political will of political actors, and at the same time by a strengthening of conflicting relations between French and British administrations and industries. In doing so, this research contributes to the literature on the acquisition of armaments in strategic studies, and to the literature on differentiated integration in European studies.