Plugging in the British

In foreign policy terms, Brexit has the potential to make the UK more autonomous but less influential, and the European Union more united but less active, unless both sides can find a new mutually beneficial way to work together. That’s the key risk highlighted in a new policy brief “Plugging in the British: EU foreign policy” by the Centre for European Reform that explores how the UK and EU might co-operate on foreign policy and development after Brexit. This is a bad time for Europe’s foreign policy strength to be called into question with challenges from Russia, Turkey, and China, and a US president who is critical of the EU and NATO. There’s obvious value in the UK and EU maintaining the closest possible foreign policy co-operation after Brexit. If Britain means what it says about continuing to work in tandem with the EU it should move quickly to find an accommodation and accept limits to its freedom of action internationally in order to maximise its influence in EU decision-making. Equally, if the EU wants to have the UK in its corner it should find a way to allow London to contribute to shaping its foreign and development policies even though it is outside the bloc.

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