In the House of Commons, several British lawmakers recalled the need to cooperate with Europeans in the Ukrainian crisis. But Brexit has undermined Britain and the EU’s ability to shape a common response to Vladimir Putin’s threats. “The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) has little provision for cooperation on foreign affairs and security issues,” says Steven Blockman, research director at the Brussels-based Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS). The political announcement made before the divorce contains concrete elements to build this new relationship. This can be done by bringing intelligence services together and sharing information, for example, which is essential for the creation of a normalcy. But for this it is necessary that trust is restored between the parties. ,
If Boris Johnson’s government shoves this political statement into the closet, the researcher believes this crisis is an opportunity to deepen post-Brexit ties. “An uncoordinated approach plays into the hands of a Kremlin, determined to take advantage of the smallest space left between the various positions of its Western opponents”, he affirms.
Global UK. In a report, Steven Blockman emphasizes the importance of flexibility and practicality in this relationship and makes some recommendations such as the participation of the British minister in Gymnich, these informal meetings of the Union’s foreign affairs ministries. It also proposed intensification of dialogue and exchanges with the British on the general security and defense policies of the Union. The document also proposes to invite the United Kingdom to sign a standard administrative arrangement with the European Defense Agency for greater cooperation and to allow Great Britain’s future participation in PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation).
But has the United Kingdom left the Union in such a committed way to reorganize European structures? Britain’s former Brexit negotiator David Frost reminded the House of Commons last week that the country should never seek a “special relationship” with the union.
“To date, this crisis has shown the contrary that the United Kingdom can go through NATO while ignoring the union while coordinating sanctions, underlines Anand Menon, director of the Institute for the UK in a Changing Europe. This point However, the UK government can conclude that its Global Britain program is working. »
The partnership, which ended last week with Poland and Ukraine, which aims to intensify the joint work of the three countries to maintain stability in Ukraine and strengthen democracy on Europe’s eastern border, goes in that direction.
Condition. But for Steven Blockman, the strength of the United Kingdom would be multiplied by closer cooperation with Europe. “The country is still regarded as a credible player on security issues, especially in Eastern Europe. But in other areas, such as trade or investment, the story of Global Britain is thin, despite Boris Johnson’s own The bombastic rhetoric surrounding free trade agreements signed by the team. He recalls that Brussels and Washington have strongly coordinated their positions to show a united front against Putin, particularly on sanctions policies. London has been left out of most discussions because it is Europe that Washington is watching. »
Anand Menon acknowledges that the risk of being ousted for London is real. However, this in no case changes the attitude of the British government at this stage: “The condition of London is based on the weak unity of the Union at this time and on the fact that divisions will eventually appear among member states when cost restrictions are met.” have to do. »
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