Juliane Liebers

Event Reports

In spite of Brexit: United in shared values

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt spoke about British-European relations after Brexit at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Berlin

Great Britain's exit from the European Union is getting closer. But even though the United Kingdom withdraws from European institutions, Britons want to stay "best friends" with the rest of Europe, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt stressed during his visit at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation: Shared values, thriving trade, close cooperation in security and the network of the international order will continue welding together the island and the continent in the future.
 Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert Juliane Liebers
Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert
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There is still no deal secured between Brussels and London. According to Professor Norbert Lammert, the only encouraging thing about the current situation is the mutual declarations both sides made, referring to the upcoming events: “Whatever may come, we will stay friends”. The chair of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation is sure that both sides are genuine in saying so, however this is easier said than done.

“We are not just another third country”

Hunt is convinced that both sides have to come to an orderly negotiated Withdrawal Agreement, because the stakes are just too high: “We are not just another third country”. According to him, Europe will maintain closer relations with the UK than with any other country. But the Foreign Secretary is still a realist in saying that London is aware of not being able to continue enjoying all its benefits once they leave the club.

To Hunt, trade is the key: “We must maintain the closest economic partnership“, because in 2017, total trade between the island and the continent came to £615 billion, which is about 8% bigger than the EU’s trade with China.

“We cherish the same freedoms, defend the same values, respect the same fundamental laws and face the same dangers“

German-British relations and policies are closely interlinked in many areas, as shown by the impressive examples Hunt gives. Taking on a historic perspective, he recalled the desperate situation of West Berlin during Stalin’s blockade and the UK’s engagement in the Berlin Air Bridge. Today, soldiers of both countries are serving together in Afghanistan and protecting NATO’s Eastern borders, the security services are cooperating in the fight against terrorism and organised crime. Berlin and London work together on a diplomatic level as well, for example in preserving the Iran nuclear agreement and upholding the Paris Climate Change Treaty.

“We are not going anywhere”

According to Hunt, we are nations united not solely by European structures and common interests in individual political fields, but by shared values and beliefs in freedom and the rule of law. The UK will use its international network – its relations to the US and the Commonwealth – for that cause, Hunt promises: “We will seek to bind the democracies of the world together”. That’s also why Europe shouldn’t give up on the UK: “We are not going anywhere“, because “We are all part of something bigger“.

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Britischer Außenminister Jeremy Hunt Juliane Liebers
Britischer Außenminister Jeremy Hunt

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