From an interview in the Sunday Times, 26 October 2008, with British defence secretary John Hutton:
John Hutton said: “France is one of our closest allies, militarily. The French believe very strongly in this type of role. If we can support it, we should.”
He added that working with EU allies on military missions was “perfectly sensible.” He emphasised that Britain should not contribute troops to joint EU operations if it risked compromising other missions, and cited plans for a European Union-led mission to tackle piracy off Somalia as a “good example” of how such forces could be used.
“I’m not one of those EU haters [who think] anything to do with the EU must by definition be terrible. There’s plenty of them around. I think frankly those kind of views are pathetic,” he said.
“Britain’s role in the world is to be part of those alliances – that’s the best way to project power, strength and conviction around the world. People who don’t understand that don’t understand the nature of the modern world.”