What next for EU-UK cooperation on Foreign Policy – public webinar

16/06/2021 - 10:15
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On 9 June, EU Ambassador to the UK João Vale de Almeida opened a discussion on the opportunities for EU-UK cooperation in foreign policy with Tom Tugendhat MP, Chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, and David McAllister MEP, Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Ambassador Vale de Almeida

The public webinar, moderated by Catherine Philp, the Times’ Diplomatic Correspondent, took place on the same day as the first ever meeting of the Joint Partnership Council of the UK and EU, and on the eve of the G7 summit in Cornwall.

“We want to promote a constructive, dynamic and balanced partnership between the EU and the UK”, said the EU Ambassador to the UK in a webinar on EU and UK foreign policy.

Full recording of the event.

Noting the timeliness and pertinence of the webinar, Ambassador Vale de Almeida highlighted that the EU and the UK are working closely on foreign policy matters, cooperating on big issues that affect our citizens and our economies. He added that we are entering a new cycle in the EU-UK relationship and that he would like this cycle to have a strong foreign policy dimension, enhanced by a close cooperation between the parliaments in the EU and the UK.

Taking the long view of the UK’s relationship with the rest of Europe, Tom Tugendhat observed that ‘it would be wrong for us to overstate today’s tactical challenges when the real strategic win is so easily envisioned before us’. Among the many issues discussed were transatlantic cooperation and engagement with China. Mr Tugendhat reckoned ‘that there is a much greater level of cooperation between the EU Member States, the UK, and the US on how to deal with China than at any time previously’. He also emphasized that the like-minded approach to sanctions on Belarus was an example of leadership by parliaments across the world.

David McAllister remarked that although the Trade and Cooperation Agreement does not contain any provisions on foreign policy and security cooperation, the EU and the UK share many complimentary goals which encompass conflict prevention, tackling climate change, global threats to democracy, and strengthening transatlantic relationships. He added that the UK is a very important political partner for the EU and it ‘will never be a simple third country’. Mr McAllister also pointed out that currently the most pressing issue was to move on with the implementation of the withdrawal agreement, seen as vital for building trust and confidence in the UK.

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