Starmer Victory Already Spelling Better EU-UK Relations

The recent Labour victory is heralding a new era of EU-UK relations, with both sides expressing cautious optimism. Here’s the full story.

Piquing Europe’s Interest

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A Labour government led by Keir Starmer is generating considerable interest across Europe, including among those who voted against Brexit in 2016. 

Possible Renewed Partnership

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The recent Labour victory has the potential to fundamentally alter the political dynamics between the UK and the EU, leading both sides to contemplate a renewed partnership. Diplomats are already starting to rebuild communications lost previously. 

Strained at Best

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Since the highly contentious Brexit referendum and the political upheaval that followed the UK’s surprise decision to leave the EU, the relationship between the UK and the EU has been strained, at best. 

Harsh Words

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The Conservative government’s approach to the EU, especially under former Prime Ministers Theresa May and Boris Johnson, often involved harsh words, unilateral decisions and the raising of tension at nearly every possible opportunity. 

Not Enough Time

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Infamously, Liz Truss was not in office long enough to have much effect on UK-EU relations. 

Stable and Cooperative

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However, Rishi Sunak’s signing of the Windsor Framework has marked a slight step towards reconciliation. It has been widely viewed as a sign that the two countries’ relationship is beginning to improve. 

Privately Hopeful

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However, many EU diplomats and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are privately hopeful that a Labour government could offer a more stable and cooperative partnership. 

Ignore and Pivot

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Despite what some in the EU might hope, Keir Starmer’s general election stance on Brexit is to ignore it entirely and pivot to something else when the topic arises out of fear of losing his poll lead by re-opening the pandora’s box that is Brexit. 

Opting Out

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Labour has officially opted out of any return to the single market, the customs union or the single market as part of its election campaign.

Cautious Optimism

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Despite this, many European diplomats have expressed cautious optimism about a Labour-led UK government fostering closer ties in defence, security, and youth mobility. 

“Real Curiosity”

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Speaking anonymously to POLITICO, one EU diplomat stated, “There’s a real curiosity about what a new government in the UK might mean.”

Clear-Cut Definition

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While Labour’s openness to a more systematic relationship is welcomed, the specifics of such agreements remain undefined. The EU prefers a clear-cut definition of cooperation, avoiding what it perceives as “cherry-picking” the benefits of a closer relationship.


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Negotiating new agreements, especially in defence and security, is something Labour has indicated a willingness to work on with the EU, stating that they would be open to working with the EU on defence in a “systematic” manner. 

“Unshakable Commitment to NATO”

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David Lammy, Labour shadow foreign secretary, wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine: “The centrepiece of this relationship should be a security pact that drives closer coordination across a wide variety of military, economic, climate, health, cyber, and energy security issues, and that complements both parties’ unshakable commitment to NATO.”

“So Many Areas”

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Terry Reintke, a German Green MEP and one of the few MEPs willing to speak on the record, told the Guardian, “I think that there are so many areas where we have to work together more closely. One very obvious example is foreign and security policy.”

“Work Closely”

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He continued, “With the war in Ukraine, it has just become more obvious that we have to work closely together as allies.”

Aligning UK Rules

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One of Labour’s key proposals involves a sanitary and phytosanitary agreement with the EU to align UK rules on food and agricultural products with European standards. 

Red Line

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While this could ease border checks and stabilise supply chains, it also raises the contentious issue of the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) jurisdiction, the UK’s membership of which is a red line for the EU that they will not cross. 

Rwanda Plan

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The ECJ has become a massive thorn in the side of the UK’s legion of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs, who are furious that the ECJ intervened to ground planes that would have taken asylum seekers to Rwanda under Sunak’s migration policy, which has been declared illegal by the UK’s High Court. 

Cautioned Against Overstating

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Despite the positive signals from both camps, EU officials cautioned against overstating the impact of a possible Labour victory. 

“More Positive Relationship”

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One anonymous diplomat stated, “If the UK is looking for a more positive relationship, they will be pushing an open door at this end. There is potentially a lot available in terms of closer relationships.” 

“Responsibilities and Rules”

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However, they added, “But that has been available at any time, and of course there are responsibilities and rules attached to it from the UK side.”

Moving On

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The prospect of a Labour government offers a tantalising chance for a potential reset in EU-UK relations, allowing both sides to move on from the malice of recent years. 

Mutually Beneficial

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While there are voices on both sides pushing for a mutually beneficial partnership, it remains to be seen if Starmer’s fears over the controversy that would arise from Brexiteers should he be perceived as reneging on Brexit will stop him from grasping the olive branch tentatively offered by EU officials. 

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The post Starmer Victory Already Spelling Better EU-UK Relations first appeared on Edge Media.

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Grant Gallacher is a seasoned writer with expertise in politics and impactful daily news. His work, deeply rooted in addressing issues that resonate with a wide audience, showcases an unwavering commitment to bringing forth the stories that matter. He is also known for satirical writing and stand up comedy.

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