After Brexit, let's formalise the 'E3' European security trio - German minister

German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Berlin, Germany, November 6, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - The “E3” group of major West European countries that cooperated on Iran policy should be formalised after Britain’s planned departure from the European Union, German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Thursday.

Kramp-Karrenbauer said that after Brexit, close cooperation with France and Germany should continue, creating an added security forum alongside the EU and NATO.

“Brexit or not, the island won’t just sail away. It remains part of our security architecture,” she said in a speech in Munich. “I therefore propose that we make permanent the ‘E3-format’ that emerged around the Iran question.”

Kramp-Karrenbauer, leader of Angela Merkel’s conservatives and widely seen as the Chancellor’s preferred successor, said a further meeting of the three countries’ defence ministers should take place later this year.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt, editing by Michelle Martin