02 July, 2010

Foreign Affairs and the new government: No.3

The Foreign Secretary (William Hague) has set out the foreign policy approach which the new British government will adopt.  See Foreign and Commonwealth Office 2nd July 2010.  The speech received a detailed look by The Independent 2nd July 2010.  Hague referred to the U.K. maintaining its relationship with the U.S.A. but it would be a "solid not slavish" relationship.  There will be greater emphasis on the European Union and the government would seek to increase Britain's influence by increasing the number of officials working for the E.U.  (The U.K. is 12% of the E.U. population - which now comprises 27 nations - but has 1.8% of the staff).  There would also be increased diplomacy with India, China, Brazil and Latin American nations.  Of course, those are the growing economies of the world and good relationships with them will be vital in the decades ahead.  However, as the Independent article notes, the U.K. cannot enter into international trade arrangements on its own but acts via the E.U.  Given the current economic climate in the U.K. it is difficult to see where the resources will come from in order to increase diplomacy but, in many ways, the U.K. cannot afford not to do so.

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