Britain and France have signed a new maritime security treaty to protect against terror attacks on ferries and in the Channel.
The first major post-Brexit agreement struck between London and Paris means that each other’s security forces can operate on foreign territory such as a ship or the tunnel in the event of a deadly attack or other serious incident.
Britain’s emergency crews and armed forces will now have more power to deal with terrorist incidents thanks to the agreement, the UK Foreign Secretary said on signing the agreement in Paris on Monday.
It is understood that the treaty was necessary after Britain withdrew from the EU in January and left security provisions that had been in place for many years.
“Today’s signing of the UK-France Maritime Security Treaty will reinforce our ability to jointly respond swiftly and effectively to terrorist threats in the Channel,” said Dominic Raab. “As close allies it is vital the UK and France work together to protect our citizens and values.”
The treaty is the “foundation for seamless, joint and co-ordinated action” by UK and French forces in response to an incident, such as a terrorist attack on board a ferry or other large vessel in the Channel, the British government said.
The treaty includes provisions in which French and British security personnel can share information concerning potential threats and mount swift and strong responses to serious incidents.
It will also mean that counter-terrorist troops can “co-ordinate more efficient joint responses” and work more effectively in the aftermath of an attack, the UK's Foreign Office said.
The treaty will take effect following ratification by both countries
“In an uncertain world we must continue to work effectively with international partners to prevent and disable serious security threats,” said Priti Patel, Britain's Home Secretary.
Mr Raab and the UK defence secretary also met their French counterparts for joint discussions on foreign policy issues, including new fields of co-operation on security in Africa and the Levant, Afghanistan and Iran.