Prime Minister David Cameron has travelled to Paris to attend a UK-France summit hosted by President Sarkozy.
The Deputy Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, the Defence Secretary and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change are also in attendance and will meet with their French counterparts to discuss shared challenges and priorities.
A centrepiece of the summit is the landmark agreement to strengthen co-operation on civil nuclear energy between France and the United Kingdom. This joint declaration signals a shared commitment to the future of civil nuclear power, setting out a shared long term vision of safe, secure, sustainable and affordable energy, that supports growth and helps to deliver UK emission reductions targets.
The strengthened co-operation on civil nuclear energy will be supported by a new Franco-British high level group on nuclear energy, bringing together industry, government, and other key stakeholders.
This partnership agreement will be underpinned by a number of commercial deals in the field of nuclear energy, worth more than £500 million and creating more than 1500 jobs across the country. These agreements represent a significant strengthening of the relationship between France and the UK in the field of civil nuclear development. They also constitute the first concrete orders which make the UK new nuclear programme a reality, helping to secure our energy supplies and meet our carbon reduction targets.
Commenting on the UK-France relationship ahead of the summit, the Prime Minister said:
“Today’s summit shows the strength and depth of Britain’s ties with France. One year on from the Libya uprising, we are working together to stand up to the murderous Syrian regime and to stop a nuclear weapon in the hands of Iran. At the United Nations, we co-sponsor more than three quarters of Security Council resolutions. Our commercial relationship is deep and growing with exports increasing and French investment sustaining almost 10,000 jobs in the UK. Our militaries are working together on cutting edge military technology. This relationship is vital for the national security and the prosperity of both Britain and France.
“At our last summit, we signed a historic partnership on defence. Today, we will match that ambition on nuclear energy. As two great civil nuclear nations, we will combine our expertise to strengthen industrial partnership, improve nuclear safety and create jobs at home. The deals signed today will create more than 1500 jobs in the UK but they are just the beginning. My goal is clear. I want the vast majority of the content of our new nuclear plants to be constructed, manufactured and engineered by British companies. And we will choose the partners and technologies to maximise the economic benefits to the UK. Today marks an important first step towards that. A good deal for Britain and a good deal for France.”
Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said:
“We need hundreds billions of pounds of investment in clean energy projects in the UK. This will bring high-skilled job opportunities the length and breadth of the country. Construction workers, engineers, technicians – they will all have a role to play.
“There are plans for new nuclear in Somerset, Suffolk, Cumbria, North Wales and Gloucestershire. Supply chains will spring up too, and extend the reach of economic benefit across the country. This investment could be worth around £60billion and create up to 30,000 jobs.
“The deals we will see signed today reflect our ongoing desire to work closely together with our French allies and the private sector on nuclear, and across the energy mix.”