20 July 2010


Professor Anand Menon

Associate Fellow, Europe Programme


  • The UK's relations with the US and the EU are often viewed as alternative paths to international influence, but Britain should adopt a reasoned, balanced approach to its foreign policy, moving beyond the established primacy of the 'special relationship' to make the most of opportunities in Europe as well.
  • Britain should rethink its traditional faith in its relationship with the US. While recognizing that a more pragmatic UK-US partnership will remain crucial in the future, it should acknowledge that the relationship is now less important to overall American foreign policy and interests.
  • The UK should seek to engage more fully and more effectively within the EU, particularly over defence and security issues. In this way, it could promote its own interests while also making a significant contribution towards creating an EU fit for purpose in the 21st century.
  • Britain should be firmly committed to an effective European Security and Defence Policy, especially via strong support for a strengthened European Defence Agency.
  • Ultimately, the UK's national interests and an understanding of the drivers of change in today's world, rather than sentimental attachments, should determine foreign policy choices.

This paper forms part of the project Rethinking the UK's International Ambitions and Choices >>