20101102 president nicolas sarkozy and prime minister david 18
French President Nicolas Sarkozy (4th L), and British Prime Minister David Cameron (4th R), pose for photographers ahead of an Anglo-French summit at Lancaster House in central London on November 2, 2010. Britain and France will sign defence treaties at a summit in London Tuesday setting out cooperation on issues including military planes and aircraft carriers. - 


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: From the Marketplace "We never thought this would happen" file. Today, Britain and France will sign a landmark military agreement. Despite the fact that for centuries, they've been pretty hardcore enemies.

The BBC's Rebecca Singer has that.

REBECCA SINGER: The French and British are famously waged a one-hundred year war against one another. But now, the shared enemy of government deficits has led the two countries to sign a treaty to share their military costs. The proposals include creating a rapid reaction force made up of troops from both countries under one command. As well as ideas to share air craft carriers. Liam Fox is the U.K.'s defense secretary, he says the agreement will take advantage of economies of scale.

LIAM FOX: Remember that Britain and France together are responsible for about 50 percent of all the defense spending within EU countries. It makes a lot of sense for us not to spend money reinventing the wheel but to work together where we can.

While there is already some close cooperation between Britain and France -- there have also been big differences in opinion -- most recently over involvement in the Iraq war. And any deal would allow each country to decide which fights they wanted to stay out of.

In London, I'm the BBC's Rebecca Singer for Marketplace.