European Council on Foreign Relations

London view: What has European foreign policy ever done for us?

Much of the debate around Europe’s global strategy ahead of the December European Union Summit, might appear to those of us in the UK to be missing the point. Have those self- absorbed diplomats in Brussels failed to notice that the UK has always been wary about more common foreign policy, and that the discussion here is about whether we want to continue as members of the European Union club at all? And, surely, if the UK is not part of the project, European power looks very different: one less seat at the UN Security Council; the loss of one of the EU’s few powers who still retain military capacity capable of decisive interventions; and the loss of the UK’s huge diplomatic network, and historical, trade and linguistic ties across the world. Not to mention the fallout which the EU would be dealing with on the global stage if the UK decides to go it alone in 2017 – international

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Germany votes: what does Britain think?

In the fourth of this series on how Europe sees the German elections, we examine how Britain feels about the vote.

Britain has become comfortable with Mrs Merkel as Europe’s foremost politician. Her sensible demeanour stands her in good stead with a public with an inbuilt suspicion of anybody seen (or supposed) to be peddling greater ambitions for the European Union (as David Cameron’s criticism of José Manuel Barroso bears out). With polls suggesting that she is similarly well thought of among Germany’s voters, most Britons are assuming that things will continue much as they are now once the elections are out the way – notwithstanding residual curiosity over the intricacies of coalition forming, especially after their own recent experience of it.

If Mrs Merkel, thanks to coalition arithmetic, were to be thrown out, Britain might not be quite so sanguine. There’s a real

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ECFR’s summer reading list

Here is ECFR's summer reading list - a reminder of some of our key reports from recent months. We not only published papers on the conflict in Syria and the Middle East peace process, we also looked at issues connected to the eurocrisis, the search for a common European security strategy or an in-depth look into Xi Jinping's China. Most papers are available for handy holiday reading as downloads for Kindles (mobi) and other ereaders (epub).

  • The regional struggle for Syria - How regional actors shape the conflict in Syria: PDF - EPUB - MOBI
  • Syria: The imperative of de-escalation - A diplomatic strategy for the conflict in Syria: PDF - EPUB - MOBI
  • Europe and the vanishing two-state solution - How Europe can rescue the two-state solution:  PDF - EPUB - MOBI
  • Drones and targeted killing: defining a European position PDF - EPUB - MOBI
  • China 3.0 - What does the

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The local politics of #letbritaindecide

If there was one clear message from the “New political geography of Europe” collection of essays that I edited last year with Jan Zielonka, it’s that all EU politics is local (or at least national). That, of course, is exactly how British attitudes to Europe have appeared to those on the other side of the English Channel for many years. Today there is another example of just that: the second reading of a “Private Member’s Bill” in parliament, proposing an “In/Out” referendum on Britain’s EU membership by 2017.

First, a very short explainer of what this means. The bill was put forward by Conservative MP James Wharton, who says it would give the British people “a real choice” within a “sensible timeframe”, following a hoped-for renegotiation of the UK’s EU membership. The bill echoes a promise by Prime Minister David Cameron for such a referendum should the Conservative Party win an

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UKIP gains: good news for British Europhiles?

Bad news for British Europhiles: the UK Independence Party, a group of bullishly Eurosceptic upstarts, did remarkably well in local elections (and one by-election) this week. 

Good news for British Europhiles: UKIP did remarkably well in those elections. 

On the face of it the former is correct. UKIP won around 25% of the vote in wards where it had candidates: impressive showing worthy of a major political party. Nick Robinson, the BBC's political editor, noted:

"This is the day when those dubbed "clowns, loonies, fruitcakes and closet racists" may find it hard to resist the temptation to laugh in the face of their detractors in the established political parties. It is the day UKIP emerged as a real political force in the land."

This will no doubt increase the pressure on David Cameron from his more Eurosceptic MPs for him to take a tougher line on Europe, with many

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