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Les Relations transatlantiques après le Brexit

Abstract : Brexit represents a potentially significant change to the way transatlantic relations have been organized since WWII. The “special relationship” between the United Kingdom and the United States, born out of historic and cultural affinities, has come under strain, since America traditionally relied on Britain as its political and economic entry point into Europe. This paper will explore the new, post-Brexit system of multiple partnerships and alliances that is likely to emerge. While the US will be keen to maintain strong bonds with the UK, it will have no other choice but to reinforce ties with other European Union countries. Over time, a second “special relationship” may develop, as the US pivots towards the Franco-German axis as a key interlocutor for transatlantic relations. Germany has already begun to assume leadership for transatlantic economic and trade issues, having re-emerged as the dominant economic power and key decision-maker in the EU under Chancellor Merkel. Likewise, a noticeable Franco-American rapprochement has occurred since France re-joined NATO in 2009; more recently, France has become the US ally of choice for military cooperation, which will be key for the future evolution of transatlantic security relations. After Brexit, France will be the only major military force in the EU, a nuclear power possessing a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, with an experienced army that has intervened in crisis points around the world. The UK has emphasized that Brexit will not change its strong commitment to European security as a key NATO ally. Nevertheless, after it leaves the EU, Britain will no longer have a seat in the European Council or the Council of Ministers where member states coordinate their national foreign and defense policies. This paper will examine the opportunity that this presents for continental European countries to enhance defense cooperation with the US within the NATO framework, especially following Russian interventionism in Eastern Europe. Because of Brexit, the UK is likely to lose previous influence over institutions relating to the EU’s independent external relations (CFSP and CSDP), which means that the US will have to work more closely with the EU on strategic cooperation. The Lisbon Treaty defined foreign affairs and defense as intergovernmental policy areas, thus EU external relations have been limited to a ‘soft security’ role. The current context of international instability indicates that this may no longer be sufficient, encouraging several EU officials to argue for greater permanent structured cooperation. Brexit has made this possible, since the UK had previously vetoed any such attempts. However, in order to maintain the cohesion of the Western alliance, it is essential that the US, Britain and other non-EU countries be closely associated with the CFSP and CSDP in the future. Even though extensive negotiations will be necessary concerning the implications for NATO, where the US enjoys a dominant position, greater EU defense cooperation represents an opportunity to strengthen NATO and the Western alliance as a whole.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 11:18:02 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 27, 2022 - 1:25:55 PM
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Arnault Barichella. Les Relations transatlantiques après le Brexit. European Issues Fondation Robert Schuman, 2016, 409, pp.1 - 10. ⟨hal-01738108⟩

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