A major public debate on the costs and benefits of the United Kingdom’s membership
of the European Union is presently under way. The outcome of the referendum
on 23 June 2016 will be a pivotal moment in determining whether the EU
has a future as a component of the UK’s European diplomatic strategy or whether
there is a major recalibration of how the UK relates to Europe and more widely of
its role within international relations. Since accession to the European Economic
Community the UK has evolved an uncodified, multipronged European diplomatic
strategy. This has involved the UK seeking to reinforce its approach of
shaping the security of the continent, preserving a leading diplomatic role for the
UK in managing the international relations of Europe, and to maximize British
trade and investment opportunities through a broadening and deepening of Europe
as an economically liberal part of the global political economy. Since accession the
UK’s European diplomatic strategy has also been to use membership of the EU
to facilitate the enhancement of its international influence, primarily as a vehicle
for leveraging and amplifying broader national foreign and security policy objectives.
The strategy has been consistent irrespective of which party has formed the
government in the UK. Increasing domestic political difficulties with the process
of European integration have now directly impacted on this European strategy
with a referendum commitment. Whether a vote for a Brexit or a Bremain, the
UK will be confronted with challenges for its future European strategy.
Brexit or Bremain:what future for the UK’s European diplomatic strategy?
pdf | 116.41 KB