Theresa May: Britain is committed to defence of Europe post Brexit

Theresa May has pledged the UK will remain "unconditionally committed" to the defence and security of Europe after Britain pulls out of the EU.
The prime minister was addressing troops at the Tapa army base in Estonia, where about 800 UK soldiers are stationed, as part of a trip that also takes in a digital summit with EU leaders in the capital Tallinn.
Along with French president Emmanuel Macron and Estonian prime minister Juri Ratas, Mrs May visited the Tapa base early on Friday as part of Nato's efforts to reassure eastern European nations fearful of Russia's increasing assertiveness.
Mrs May told troops that "renewed aggression" from Russia "represents a growing danger to our friends here in Estonia, as well as in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, and our response must be clear and unequivocal".
With Brexit talks rumbling on, the prime minister is keen to stress the importance of the UK's role in Europe's defences to her European counterparts - its large defence budget, sophisticated security and intelligence services and key role in Nato.
The UK soldiers at Tapa have been stationed there since April, leading a Nato battle group alongside their Estonian and French colleagues.
The prime minister is striking a more conciliatory tone in Estonia than she has in the past - back in March, she warned the EU that without a Brexit deal "our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened".
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Theresa May will visit troops with Estonian prime minister Juri Ratas (right). Credit: AP
Later, when she meets EU leaders at the Tallinn summit, Mrs May will offer UK expertise on combating cyber threats from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
The recent spate of major cyber attacks across Europe, including an assault on the NHS, shows the need for closer co-operation on tackling the danger to financial systems and the public sector, she will say.
Speaking ahead of the summit, Mrs May said: "From terrorism to cyber-crime, illegal migration to Russian aggression, the threats we face as Europeans are increasing in their scale and complexity.
"Now more than ever, it is in all our interests to confront them together.
"With the largest defence budget in Europe, a far-reaching diplomatic network, world-class security, intelligence and law enforcement services, and our position at the heart of Nato, the UK's role in Europe's defence has never been more vital."
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Emmanuel Macron (right) will also visit troops to reassure eastern European countries of Russian aggression.Credit: AP
She added: "As we prepare for Brexit, I want to build a bold, new security partnership with the EU.
"A partnership that reflects our shared history, promotes our common values and maintains a secure and prosperous Europe.
"Nato remains the bedrock of our collective security and there is no clearer demonstration of the UK's unconditional commitment to Europe's defence than the 800 British troops now in Tapa, leading a Nato battlegroup and standing shoulder to shoulder with their Estonian, French and, soon, their Danish counterparts too.
"We will continue to work with our Nato allies, our European neighbours and the EU to support a future partnership of unprecedented breadth and depth, that will guarantee the security and stability of the continent for generations to come."
Britain is seeking a bespoke deal on security links with the EU under proposals to maintain co-operation on efforts to fight terrorism and serious crime after Brexit.
The government wants a "comprehensive" new framework that would be underpinned by a new treaty.
It has also made clear the UK is ready to continue contributing troops, equipment, expertise and money to EU operations, and to align foreign policy with Brussels where appropriate.
Theresa May: Britain is committed to defence of Europe post Brexit Theresa May: Britain is committed to defence of Europe post Brexit Reviewed by Alexander Von Stern on 02:03:00 Rating: 5