After the surprising results of the so-called ‘Brexit election’, which left the Conservative party short of a majority in Parliament, polling suggests that the British public has an increasing interest in UK foreign policy, although it feels uninformed and is increasingly divided on foreign policy issues.
Gibraltar’s voters opted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, by an astounding majority of 95% of the ballots cast, in a turnout of 83% of the electorate. Now the territory faces a dilemma, as the rest of Britain went in a different direction.
Although British foreign policy is likely to encounter a variety of hardships after the withdrawal from the EU, some of the options still offer interesting opportunities which should not diminish the country’s international standing and contribution.
The Brexit vote has created an urgent need for the United Kingdom to redefine its global identity if it is to remain a leading player in international affairs. Re- assessing relationships with Asia and Africa might be a good place to start.
Britain’s decision to leave the EU could have a significant impact on the Union’s ability to help nations on its Eastern borders implement political and economic reform, or to respond to Russia’s determined efforts to expand its sphere of influence.
First indications of Britain’s negotiating stance with the EU are beginning to appear. They are shrewder and more realistic than commonly assumed, but will also require emotions to be tempered by hard-headed calculations, if Britain’s marginalisation in Europe is to be avoided.