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German Ambassador Wants Liz Truss To Work With EU On Defence Policy

Ambassador Berger discussed Liz Truss when he met with Baroness Stuart at the Germany Embassy (Alamy)

3 min read

The new German Ambassador to the UK has called for a “structured cooperation” between the UK and the EU on defence in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

EU officials are bracing themselves for a "rocky few weeks" in its relationship with the UK following the swearing in of Truss as the UK's next Prime Minister.

Speaking with Baroness Stuart for The House magazine, Ambassador Miguel Berger said it was Germany’s “expectation” that the Truss administration would be “willing to sit down with Brussels and sort out the question of the Northern Ireland Protocol”.

But he also called for a closer relationship between the bloc and the UK on defence operations in the wake of Russian President Vladamir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. 

“We need some kind of structured cooperation on defence and foreign policy between the European Union and the United Kingdom,” he said.

“Russia’s war in Ukraine has shown that the security of Europe and a strong European Union is absolutely essential to British security. 

“There are so many areas where we need to cooperate in a structured way, on defence, on foreign policy. And the current approach… in my view, is not enough.”

The full conversation between Baroness Stuart and Berger will feature in the next edition of The House magazine, due to be published next week.

Pushed on whether this cooperation could be achieved under current Nato mechanisms, Berger said the UK was “not participating” in many European defence projects.

“In our view, to develop a stronger European defence, that’s very important to underline, requires engagement by the United Kingdom.”

Baroness Stuart and Ambassador Berger also discussed the future of the Northern Ireland Protocol, and how the incoming Prime Minister Liz Truss would tackle the issues surrounding it. 

“We think there is a way to solve these issues. There is an agreement which was signed and ratified and needs to be honoured and needs to be implemented,” Berger explained.

“There is a willingness, definitely, in Germany, in Brussels, and in other capitals to find solutions.”

He added that Germany and Switzerland have “20 times more trade” between them than the UK and Northern Ireland, despite Switzerland not being in the EU, and “everything works fine and smoothly”.

“So in my view, with modern technology, and political will, there is a way to solve that.”

PoliticsHome reported last week that the EU is bracing itself for a "rocky few weeks" in its relationship with the UK once Liz Truss replaces Boris Johnson.

The bloc expects Truss to employ a "very aggressive narrative" about standing up to the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol in the first weeks of her premiership.

She previously led the government move to introduce the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill – a contentious piece of legislation that if enacted would see ministers scrap large parts of the treaty that has bedevilled UK-EU relations since it came into effect early last year.

Truss argues that the bill is the only way of restoring power-sharing in Northern Ireland in the absence of an acceptable negotiated settlement with the EU.

She is expected to continue with this hardline approach when she gets into Number 10, with several figures on both sides of the Channel telling PoliticsHome that she will be keen to galvanise her party's overwhelmingly pro-Brexit members heading into Tory conference in early October.

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