UK's Sunak and Germany's Scholz to open 'new chapter' as defence deal is announced

Leaders reveal plans to develop advanced artillery system during meeting in Berlin on Wednesday

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is visiting Poland and Germany this week as he tries to increase defence and security co-operation. Getty
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UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will meet in Berlin on Wednesday as they seek to deepen defence and security ties.

The two will announce plans to develop Remote-Controlled Howitzer 155mm Wheeled Artillery Systems (RCH 155) and discuss collaboration on energy projects, including German energy investment.

The UK and Germany are closely aligned on matters including support for Ukraine, but have so far opted to co-operate through Nato and G7 forums instead of through strengthening bilateral ties.

The two countries will open a "new chapter" in their partnership, Mr Sunak said.

Mr Sunak earlier said he would raise defence spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP a year by 2030.

"The UK and Germany are European powerhouses," he said in a statement.

"Together, we are stronger – whether that is defending against Russian aggression or driving economic growth and technological advance.

"At this dangerous moment for the world, the UK and Germany are standing side by side to preserve security and prosperity at home and across our continent."

Mr Sunak has not visited Germany since he became British Prime Minister in October 2022.

The two leaders will also discuss collaboration on energy and renewables, including on the export of green hydrogen, and joint efforts to tackle organised immigration crime.

Mr Sunak will try to woo German businesses in Berlin to drive further economic co-operation, with No 10 saying German companies will announce new investment in the UK worth about £8 billion.

Germany is the UK’s largest trading partner in Europe.

It is also the second-biggest provider of military aid to Ukraine after the US, and has recently promised the war-torn country another Patriot missile system to bolster its air defence.

It will meet its Nato target to spend 2 per cent of GDP on defence, after Mr Scholz announced a historic national rearmament following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

At a media conference in Warsaw, Mr Sunak said he wanted to “pay tribute” to Mr Scholz for the shift in Germany’s policy.

The Prime Minister committed a further £500 million ($622 million) package of military aid to Kyiv during his trip.

“Germany and the UK are the two largest defence spenders in Europe and are the two countries which have been at the forefront of providing support to Ukraine," Mr Sunak said.

"And I’m confident that that will continue.”

Updated: April 24, 2024, 3:49 AM