The announcement by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron that their countries intend to cooperate in producing a new fighter aircraft has sparked great interest in UK defence and industrial circles. However, how significant is this as a ‘hard’ defence initiative?
Soon after the Paris attacks, the prospect of similar massacres happening in the UK was raised. While the danger is serious, crucial contexts specific to the Continent mean the UK faces a different kind of threat.
The Paris terrorist attacks will impact on France’s electoral politics and on the country’s counter-terrorism legislation. But the impact need not be as great as currently expected. The best weapon with which French politicians can arm themselves is sang-froid.
The terrorist attacks in France encourage a new European trend: the argument that, supposedly, Islam is incompatible with European cultures, and that Muslims cannot be integrated into European societies. Both these views must be fought by mainstream European leaders.
The Charlie Hebdo attack raises a number of pressing concerns; however, its implications for the wider terrorist threat cannot be fully understood until key questions about the perpetrators are answered.