Agreement Reached on Franco-German MALE

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Late on Wednesday evening, as though the news earlier in the day that EADS and BAE Systems are negotiating a possible merger was not enough, the French defense ministry announced that France and Germany had signed a declaration agreeing to strengthen their defense cooperation around development of a European MALE (medium altitude, long endurance) UAV (unmanned air vehicle). They made it clear that if other European countries wanted to join in, they could.

The two countries have agreed on a set of key operational needs for a MALE UAV which should provide the impetus to finally find a European solution to filling this capability gap and ensure their respective industries cooperate rather than compete. The two nations may even cooperate on operating this UAV.

The two countries will work at harmonizing the structures and procedures to achieve this goal and France specified it would be careful this was fully coherent with the engagements it has taken with the United Kingdom on the same subject.

The declaration is not quite a parallel to the Lancaster House treaties which the United Kingdom and France signed nearly two years ago, but it will certainly go some way to smoothing Germany's feathers which had been ruffled by the Franco-British treaties.

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