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As an EU member, the UK was an active and key player in the formulation and implementation of EU foreign and security policy (CFSP). On leaving, the UK rejected an EU proposal to agree a framework for structured co-operation in this field, although such a framework was envisaged in the Political Declaration agreed by the parties at the time of the conclusion of the Withdrawal Treaty.  

The UK Government set out its new approach to foreign and security policy in a White Paper in March 2021, Global Britain in a Competitive Age. This provides a strong analysis of the current global environment but does it offer a credible policy response? Is there a gap between rhetoric and reality, as recently illustrated by events in Afghanistan? The UK is intending to increase its defence expenditure, including expanding its nuclear arsenal, adopt a tilt towards the Indo-Pacific and introduce a new model for integrated operations by the UK’s armed forces.  Yet the paper offers little comment on how the UK would relate to the EU, which includes many of the UK’s nearest neighbours and allies, and at a time when there are major challenges to British interests in Europe, not least from Russia.

This webinar will focus on the European dimension of present and future foreign policy challenges and on the implications for Britain’s own policy choices.  What should the UK’s foreign and security policy be after Brexit? In particular, what kind of relationship should it have with the EU as such, as well as with its larger Member States (for example, France and Germany), in relation to these issues?  It will be informed by a background paper on this topic prepared by the Senior European Experts Group.

An expert panel chaired by Professor Panos Koutrakos, Professor of EU Law and Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law, City, University of London, will debate these issues before opening up the discussion to the audience:

  • Lord Jay of Ewelme, former UK Ambassador to Paris and Head of the Diplomatic Service and now a member of the House of Lords; member of the Senior European Experts Group
  • Dame Mariot Leslie, former UK Permanent Representative to NATO, Director-General for Defence & Intelligence at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office now Associate Fellow, Chatham House; member of the Senior European Experts Group
  • Professor Steven Blockmans, Director, Centre for European Policy Studies, Brussels & Professor of EU External Relations Law and Governance, University of Amsterdam