UK House of Commons Report Calls for Deep Strategic Partnership With Europe
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A Parliamentary inquiry was set up on October 19 to determine how Britain can maintain its influence over future European military deployments and global political initiatives.
Britain’s House of Commons on January 30 released a report claiming that Britain risks losing its influence over the strategic direction and military policies of Europe after it exits the European Union in 2019.
Despite the apparent loosening of economic and political ties between Britain and the Continent, many in the UK’s political class are most anxious to see the military and intelligence links between the two endure and strengthen.
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In particular, the report stresses the importance of Britain remaining a party to the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) as, the authors contend, the ability to influence the formation of EU policy amplifies Britain’s strategic, diplomatic and political significance on the world stage. Special mention was made to the Iran Nuclear Agreement which for the authors at least partially credit Britain’s capacity to keep other EU members and the United States united in pursuing negotiations with the Iranians.
Several options were suggested in the report for maintaining current strategic links with the continent once Britain is outside the bloc including;
Sitting In But Losing Voting Rights
Britain would be able to continue attending meetings on the formulation of Europe’s CFSP and CSDP but would no longer have the right to vote on the Union’s final decisions or propose initiatives of its own which is a privilege reserved only for member states.
A Norwegian Model
Adopting the example of Norway’s relations with Brussels would see Britain coordinate with the European Union on a case-by-case basis in which London would not have access to the bloc’s policy formulation meetings or have any input into the text of its resolutions. Ukraine also manages its foreign EU relations according to this principle.
A “Structured Dialogue”
Imitating the relationship between Brussels and the United States would involve the regular exchange of politicians and military and diplomatic experts between the two sides.
Crafting a New Model
A suggestion made by Conservative MP Crispin Blunt was that Britain and Europe could simply develop a partnership structure that currently does not exist, an “Enhanced Framework Participation Agreement,” which would preserve its access to policy meetings and rights to speak and propose motions as well as ensure regular political contacts between the two sides.
Teaching Fellow in EU politics at University College London Dr. Nicholas Wright’s submissions to the cross-party panel were included in the report, in which he criticized the assumptions of some politicians that Britain would simply be able to invent a model of relations with Europe that suited it’s purposes.
“The UK could and should not expect formal rights in decision-making as a non-member-for example, it would no longer have its current ability to block decisions it opposes. However, the nature of CFSP decision-making is such that strength of argument, expertise and willingness to deploy resources bestow significant influence in policy decisions.”