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  • Writer's pictureTim Oliver

BFP Must-Reads 27.3-2.4 Germany, CPTPP, Brexit, UK-US & IRA, AUKUS, the City, and French bashing

This week’s British foreign Policy Must-Reads cover the King’s first state visit, Britain's membership of CPTPP, the effects of Brexit on SMEs through to delays at Dover, UK responses to the USA's Inflation Reduction Act, ongoing problems for the government's Rwanda plans for asylum seekers, New Zealand's interest in AUKUS, UK failings on its international environmental commitments, a series of report and studies looking at the effects of Brexit on the City of London, the state of the UK and how Brits have more faith in the EU than the UK, and how French bashing on the Conservative party.


  1. State Visit to Germany ~ Bloomberg: Kitty Donaldson and Iain Rogers—King Charles Condemns Russia in Speech to German Lawmakers. Visit seen as diplomatic test in rebuilding UK’s European ties. Monarch pokes gentle fun at Germans with jokes about soccer.

  2. State Visit to Germany ~ Guardian: Helene von Bismarck—For Hamburg, devastated by allied bombing, King Charles’s visit is so much more than a photo-op. UK-German relations are long and complicated, and not all symbolism is empty.

  3. CPTPP ~ British Foreign Policy Group: UK Accedes to CPTPP, but what does it Mean for the UK? The UK has reached an agreement in principle to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). It is a landmark move reaffirming the UK’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific region. The Trans-Pacific trade partnership, which came into force at the end of 2018 in six nations – Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore – and was subsequently ratified by Vietnam and Peru, and most recently by Malaysia and Chile, reduces trade barriers between these nations. The UK’s accession to CPTPP will therefore support tariff-free trade with a number of nations with which the UK does not currently have full FTAs. The move reflects the emphasis placed on the Indo-Pacific region in the Integrated Review and its subsequent Refresh (which we’ve summarised here), with the region seen as a key economic and security priority for the UK. But how much does accession matter for the UK? What will the economic and geostrategic consequences of the move be?

  4. CPTPP ~ The Guardian: Nick Dearden—‘Take back control’? With this Pacific trade deal, Brexit Britain has just signed it away. Goodbye, food standards. Hello, corporate lobbyists. Why are we doing this, for no real economic benefit?

  5. CPTPP ~ Conservative Home: William Atkinson—Joining CPTPP is a victory for Sunak, Brexiteers, and Global Britain. But will it soon become irrelevant?

  6. CPTPP ~ Most Favoured Nation: Sam Lowe—What Does CPTPP Actually Do? The definitive take.

  7. Brexit ~ CER: Anton Spisak—Will the Retained EU Law Bill undermine Sunak's Windsor deal? In its current form the Retained EU Law Bill is incompatible with the Windsor Framework. Rishi Sunak should make big changes to the REUL bill or scrap it altogether.

  8. Brexit ~ Guardian: Pippa Crerar and Robyn Vinter—Suella Braverman denies Brexit to blame for Dover queues of 14 hours. Home secretary points to ‘particular combination of factors’, but Labour says ministers need to ‘start doing their actual job’

  9. Brexit ~ QMUL Mile End Institute: The Failure of Remain: the remarkable mobilisation and limited efficacy of the anti-Brexit movement. Following the referendum in June 2016, there was a mass mobilisation of anti-Brexit activism across all parts of the UK. Based on their recently published book, The Failure of Remain, Stijn van Kessel and Adam Fagan examine this movement and the 'politicisation of Europe' by a grassroots social movement.

  10. Brexit ~ FT: Peter Foster—UK small businesses struggle with bureaucratic quagmire after Brexit. Companies say they are being hindered by complex new rules in Europe as Covid curbs ease and business travel resumes.

  11. UK response to the US Inflation Reduction Act ~ New Statesman: Jonny Ball—Will the UK get its own Inflation Reduction Act? Ed Miliband wants to follow in President Biden’s footsteps.

  12. UK response to the US Inflation Reduction Act ~ Bloomberg: Ellen Miligan, Will Mathis and Todd Gillespie—UK Unveils Green Program With Little New Cash to Fight US Plans. Britain aims to cut CO2, boost security with low-carbon energy. Jeremy Hunt says won’t go toe-to-toe in subsidy race.

  13. Asylum ~ Independent: Holly Bancroft—Afghan pilot who served with British forces and fled to UK in small boat facing deportation to Rwanda. Air force lieutenant says he is one of many Afghan forces personnel ‘forgotten’ by coalition forces after the fall of Kabul.

  14. AUKUS ~ Bloomberg: Matthew Brockett—New Zealand Open to Non-Nuclear Talks With Aukus, Minister Says. New Zealand is open to discussing non-nuclear cooperation with the Aukus security partnership between the US, the UK and Australia, Defence Minister Andrew Little said.

  15. Integrated Review ~ Pacific Forum: Rory Copinger-Symes and John Hemmings—The UK integrated review and integrated deterrence. The much-awaited release of Britain’s updated Integrated Review (IR2023)—a “refresh” since the 2021 iteration (IR2021)—has many in the Euro-Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific now trying to assess UK intent and capability in the region. The paper does go some way to addressing concerns that UK domestic politics would pull the ground from underneath “the Tilt” before it had even begun. The region is described as “Inextricably linked” with the security of the Euro-Atlantic, though this strategic logic is compelling, the operational follow-through bears some scrutiny.

  16. Integrated Review ~ UKICE: What the UK government’s revised security strategy tells us about its international role. Amelia Hadfield, Georgina Wright, and Tea Zyberaj explore what the government’s recent ‘refresh’ of the 2021 Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy tells us about the UK’s international role and priorities.

  17. Environment ~ Climate Change Committee: Progress in adapting to climate change – 2023 Report to Parliament. The CCC’s annual assessment of England’s progress in adapting to climate change. The second National Adaptation Programme has not adequately prepared the UK for climate change. The impacts from extreme weather in the UK over the last year highlight the urgency of adapting to climate change. The next National Adaptation Programme must make a step change.

  18. Environment ~ LSE: The wrong kind of net zero: Boosting emissions at home while paying to reduce them abroad. Bernat Camps Adrogué and Ranil Dissanayake dissect the incoherence of UK carbon reduction strategies, highlighting how policies like the Energy Price Guarantee have greatly increased domestic emissions and undermined the achievements of UK climate mitigation aid.

  19. City of London ~ FT: Daniel Thomas—London loses sole lead as world’s top financial centre. Tie with New York comes despite government efforts to reinvigorate UK listings market.

  20. City of London ~ ZFW-Advances in Economic Geography: Sarah Hall and Martin Heneghan—Interlocking corporate and policy networks in financial services: Paris-London relations post Brexit. This paper examines the impacts of Brexit as an external shock to European financial centre relations. In particular, it studies the changing nature of Paris-London financial relations post Brexit. Early on in the Brexit process, Paris was not understood as the most likely European centre to benefit from Brexit given its tax regime and high office costs. However, our analysis shows that through policy and corporate network change, it has been one of the major beneficiaries. In making this argument, the paper develops a sympathetic critique of work on global cities that has tended to emphasise corporate networks without fully situating them within their political landscapes. We argue that bringing work in economic geography into closer dialogue with work in international political economy offers one fruitful way of addressing this oversight and, in turn, better understanding how inter-city relations respond to external shocks.

  21. City of London ~ Contemporary Social Science: Sarah Hall and Martin Heneghan—Brexit and ‘missing’ financial services jobs in the United Kingdom. In this paper, we examine the impact of Brexit on financial services employment in the UK. Initial estimates suggested that around 10,000 jobs could relocate from London to other EU financial centres as a result of Brexit. Official statistics show that the total number of job relocations that has taken place to date is lower than these estimates, but concerns have been raised concerning ‘missing’ financial services jobs as employment growth has been relatively flat since Brexit. We analyse the geographies of these ‘missing’ jobs and examine the different causes in wholesale and retail banking. Our findings suggest that it is the combination of Brexit alongside the changing nature of financial work itself that best account for ‘missing’ financial services jobs in the UK. As a result, Brexit is far from done and, in the case of financial services, it is likely to be some time before its full impacts are fully understood.

  22. State of the UK ~ KCL World Values Survey: UK has internationally low confidence in political institutions, police and press. The UK has internationally low levels of confidence in its political institutions, with confidence in parliament in particular halving since 1990, new data shows. Of more than 20 countries included in a study by the Policy Institute at King’s College London, the UK fares poorly on confidence in the government, political parties, parliament and the civil service.

  23. State of the UK ~ Guardian: Robert Booth—Britons have more confidence in EU than Westminster, poll finds. Faith in bloc higher than that in UK parliament for first time in three decades of World Values Survey.

  24. State of the Uk ~ FT: Robert Shrimpsley—Britain’s new stability is built on soft foundations. An end to the upheaval of the past few years is welcome, but the underlying ingredients of populism and Scottish separatism remain.

  25. UK-French relations ~ Political Quarterly: Agnès Alexandre-Collier—‘Friend or Foe?’: Brexit and French Bashing in the Conservative Parliamentary Party (2016–2022). This article explores the extent of anti-French rhetoric in Conservative parliamentary discourse since 2016. It argues that up to the end of Liz Truss's extremely brief period of power, a fair number of Conservative MPs embarked on an escalation of tabloid-like anti-French bashing after the election of Boris Johnson, in an attempt to mimic the dramaturgy staged by their leader, while those who tried to provide a more positive discourse were left crying in the wilderness. Moreover, positive attempts to renew the relationship essentially came from MPs who had specific interests to defend, either in terms of representation of French residents in their constituencies or out of loyalty to family connections. Post-Johnson, a more realistic and sensible discourse is anticipated, but damaging traces of this populist drift are likely to continue.

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