Post-Brexit: what could a transformative, values-based EU and UK partnership in foreign policy look like?


Jacqueline Hale argues that as like-minded partners, sharing many policy traditions, norms and standards the EU and UK have every strategic interest in working together on a values-based foreign policy post-Brexit. She writes that ‘history shows that Britain is at its best as a transformative foreign policy actor and EU partner when it asks more than “What will you give me in return for…?” It should not ignore the power of attraction that the EU continues to exercise. The fact that people risk their lives to enter the EU, and that people in the EU’s neighbourhood would like to be on an Erasmus or attend Bologna-accredited institutions exchange in their own country; find labour in Europe; buy products easily from European countries or go on holiday there cheaply testifies to the EU’s enduring role as a global standards-setter whose citizens enjoy an enviable social contract and a set of rights and freedoms. Continuing to align with these standards – and promoting them globally – should be of interest to British citizens, now that Britain too is set to become a neighbour of the EU. Ensuring that British ‘values’, norms and by extension our way of life can measure up to this gold standard – embodying a better quality of life upheld by democracy, human rights and the rule of law – is essential not only for UK soft power projection, but also for fostering our citizen’s development, which is greatly enhanced through exchange with others.’

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