A platform of influence for the Franco-British Defence community
Since the Lancaster House Treaties in 2010, the Franco-British Council has regularly organised a Defence Conference which has established itself as a networking platform of reference for bilateral relationships in the defence sector. This conference brings together representatives from the most senior level of military, government, industry and academia from both sides of the Channel. Its objectives are to forge new relationships and reinforce mutual understanding between the two countries’ defence communities.
A report is produced after each defence conference which is widely distributed within the French and British defence communities. You can read reports from previous conferences here: 2020, 2018, 2016, 2015 and 2014.
DEFENCE CONFERENCE 2023
The ninth edition of the Franco-British Defence Conference organised by the Franco- British Council took place on 20th-21st November 2023 at the French Ambassador’s Residence in London on the theme of “How France and the UK contribute to the security of Europe”.
The Conference was held following the successful UK-France Summit which had been held in March 2023. It was the first in-person conference since 2018 and was held against a background of much closer cooperation between Europe’s two nuclear powers and permanent members of the UN Security Council, as a result in particular of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The UK Secretary of State for Defence, The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, and French Minister for the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu, opened the conference in the evening of 20th November with keynote speeches.
On 21st November, Mme Hélène Duchêne, French Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Dame Menna Rawlings DCMG, British Ambassador to the French Republic, gave the diplomatic perspective on the Franco-British defence relationship and Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, gave the industrial view. There were also speeches from Lord Peter Ricketts, Chair of the Franco-British Council in the UK, Hervé Mariton, former minister and Président du Conseil franco- britannique en France, Ed Arnold, Research Fellow for European Security, RUSI, and Honorary Senator Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam, former Chair of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
The 2023 conference was hosted by the French Embassy in London. Supported by the UK and French Ministries of Defence and by the French Embassy in the United Kingdom and the British Embassy in France, it was funded this year by the UK Ministry of Defence, together with generous commercial sponsorships by MBDA and Airbus.
The conference report 2023 is available (in English) HERE