The United Kingdom plans to re-establish formal foreign and security policy ties with European Union, Which has been frozen during negotiations over a trade deal, may never be revived, as the UK’s foreign policy focuses on bilateral ties in Europe and the development of new alliances in the Indo-Pacific and the Middle East.
Freezing is a little discussed reflection of Theresa May’s era, when he was Political announcement at the time He talked about Britain’s withdrawal from negotiating deep cooperation between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
She had said herself Munich Security Conference In 2018: “Europe’s security is our security, and the UK is unconditionally committed to preserving it. The challenge for all of us today is to find a way to work together, through a deep and special partnership between the UK and the European Union, to preserve the cooperation we have built and move forward with Facing the evolving threats we face together. “
The European Union has even published proposals on how this cooperation should work in detail, but the UK has not picked up on the ideas.
The UK’s transformation from the May era has not been officially announced by either side, and its implications have not been discussed much.
For the European Union, as it tries to integrate its own foreign policy, the fear must be that Britain could undermine its foreign policy standards, in the same way that it fears the UK will diverge on trade standards. But diplomats in Britain believe that the post-Brexit UK has already demonstrated independence of governance, and is faster than the old, compared to the European Union, where the cumbersome decision-making process requires the approval of all 27 EU foreign ministers. The European Union could not be exposed by the Eurosceptic Conservative Party.
So, over the past year, the UK has cooperated with the European Union on a strictly ad hoc basis, often pursuing its own path on issues like sanctions. For example, in the case of Belarus, the United Kingdom (with Canada) He issued sanctions against the Minsk regime Before the European Union (and the United States) agreed to their packages. The European Union and the United States appear to have coordinated their own procedures, but the European Union Then the actions were banned And it was delayed by threatening Cyprus to veto.
In the case of Turkey drilling for gas in the eastern Mediterranean, then The European Union introduced some sanctions It may swing further in March, while Britain is low and unwilling to offend either side. Such as France and Turkey exchanged insultsMediated by Germany, the UK outside the EU was free to walk away, perhaps contemplating the trade deal it seeks with Turkey.
In Libya, where the UK played a major role in the 2011 revolution, it has recently stayed on the sidelines watching the EU’s itinerary around Turkish violations of the UN arms embargoAnd leaving the European Union to monitor migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Spain and Italy. On some issues, the past year has shown an edge in diplomatic discretion.
The main European forum in which the UK is active remains E3 – Germany, France and the UK. Here, in public at least, the great powers of Europe remained With steady steps on the Iranian nuclear dealResisting American pressure to declare the agreement broken and placing Iranian nuclear non-compliance in the dispute settlement mechanism, which is a means by which the deal can be declared dead.
The E3 also increasingly coordinated on Iranian human rights violations, and at the level of political directors they discussed broader issues, including Russia. In Ukraine, however, only the United Kingdom offered the Defense and political partnership With Kiev.
In general, the EU’s plans for institutional cooperation appear dead, or at least dormant. Rosa Balfour, Carnegie’s director EuropeWriting in the Foreign Policy Center pamphlet, he suggests: “The European Union needs to give up, for the time being, the hope that the UK will participate in any institutional arrangement. The foreign policy of the British government is ideologically driven. The EU’s move is largely driven by the process. The gap between Monday is one of the reasons for Britain’s exit from the European Union. “
British diplomats look at Foreign policy agenda Josep Borrell, European Union representative for foreign affairs and security policy, and apostasy. His call for a greater majority vote in foreign policy through “constructive abstention,” and the European Union’s call to use the language of force, is not attractive to the United Kingdom. Likewise, the British view the contradiction between Emmanuel Macron’s call for a stronger united Europe and the unilateral French foreign policy making, revealing the falsehood of an integrated foreign policy.
Indeed, the EU’s foreign policy has often looked like an alliance of unwillingness. But some policymakers say the foreign policy debate between the European Union and the United Kingdom will be revived, if only by three profoundly opposing forces.
Earthly realities may lead the UK to realize that its foreign policy influence is multiplied if it works with the European Union. The Biden administration also prefers the UK not to be a freelancer, if that weakens the European Union. Finally, the European Union will slowly integrate its defense arm, and it has already identified a way in which third parties, such as the United Kingdom, can participate.
Ian Bond, at the European Reform Center, can see three ways in which the United Kingdom and the European Union can formally cooperate: the sharing and protection of confidential information, the participation of UK personnel in defense missions and operations, and the UK’s participation in defense. Industrial cooperation through the European Defense Agency.
But it may take a cooling off of the dust from the fraught trade talks, and a nudge from Biden, to initiate them.