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EU, UK Intensify Talks on Defense Cooperation Amid Successful Windsor Framework, Reports Say

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UK, EU flags - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.03.2023
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Senior officials of the European Union and the United Kingdom have stepped up talks on potential steps for closer defense and security cooperation, following a successful signing of a new agreement on Northern Ireland called Windsor Framework, a British daily newspaper reported on Monday, citing informed sources.
In recent weeks, officials held a number of informal but regular discussions on improvement of coordination in various areas, which in particular include increased European arms production, people briefed on the talks said.
Last week, UK Minister of State for the Armed Forces James Heappey held "productive" bilateral meetings with senior EU officials at the Schuman Security and Defence Partnership Forum, the people added.
UK Defense Ministry building - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.05.2016
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In late February, the EU and the UK reached the agreement in order to resolve the outstanding issues with the previous agreement, including the checks imposed on UK goods arriving in Northern Ireland. On Friday, the countries formally signed the agreement. The pro-UK Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) opposed the move.
Discussions between EU and UK officials focus on "incremental" progress, rather than a formalized security and defense cooperation agreement, sources close to the talks said, adding that officials fear a potential backlash from Eurosceptic members of UK’s ruling Conservative Party.
Meanwhile, the military operation that Russia launched in Ukraine a year ago prompted Brussels and London to boost cooperation on security issues and concerted defense industrial planning to meet a significantly increased demand for arms production, the newspaper reported, adding that officials also seek to explore potential areas of cooperation in other areas such as intelligence-sharing, joint defense missions, and possible ties with the European Defense Agency.
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