Europe is now Britain’s essential relationship

After voting for Brexit, the UK should now view the EU as a security partner, writes Robin Niblett

The World Today
4 minute READ

If you think you have to choose between America and Europe, don’t. This has been the axiom of British foreign policy for the past sixty years. After the 1956 Suez crisis, successive British governments focused on building a ‘special’ relationship with the United States, putting NATO at the core of British security policy while letting go of the British Empire. But, as its economic performance declined relative to its European neighbours, Harold Wilson decided that Britain also needed to join the European Economic Community.

Following accession in 1973, Britain became enmeshed in an ever larger and more deeply integrated European Union, which has developed into the principal external framework for Britain’s international relations. Within the EU, British policymakers have helped strike more than 50 trade deals, extend liberal democracy to central and eastern Europe after the Cold War, confront climate change, and tackle instability in North and sub-Saharan Africa.

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