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EU external action after Brexit

Ragnar Weilandt

My paper examines potential avenues for the future of post-Brexit EU external action. In doing so, it looks at the UK’s pre-Brexit role in shaping EU external action. It argues that historically this role can be broken down to three essential aspects. First, the UK has always been a provider of significant foreign policy capabilities through its diplomatic as well as its military assets. Second, Britain has been an occasional driver of EU foreign policy, most notably in the aftermath of the 1998 Franco-British St. Malo declaration which laid the groundwork for the EU’s Helsinki headline goal or when promoting EU enlargement in the 1990s and 2000s. Finally, the UK has been obstructing various attempts to build common institutions aimed at enabling the EU to speak with one voice and to act coherently in international affairs. Assessing British political trajectories over time along these three dimensions and relating them to political trajectories in continental Europe, the paper argues that Brexit might end up not having a substantial effect on the short to medium term development of EU external action. Read Crossroads Europe blog post based on this paper:

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