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  • Writer's pictureTim Oliver

British Foreign Policy Must-reads 29.V-4.VI: Australia-UK trade, Exports/Growth, and Au Pairs

Spring half-terms has helped make this something of a quiet week in reporting on UK foreign policy. Despite this, several good reports this week, especially on the less than impressive way (is anyone surprised?) Boris Johnson went about the trade negotiations with Australia.


  1. UK-Australia trade deal ~ Politico: Graham Lanktree — How Boris Johnson sold out Britain’s farmers over dinner with the Australian PM. As the UK-Australia trade deal comes into force, those close to the negotiations reflect on their dramatic — and farcical — climax.

  2. EU regulatory alignment ~ FT: Peter Foster and George Parker — UK should boost alignment of rules with EU, says business commission. Cross-party group’s call for ‘general policy’ on regulations comes as Labour vows to improve ties with Brussels.

  3. Exports ~ The Guardian: Phillip Inman and Joanna Partridge — UK factories blame 16th month in a row of falling exports on Brexit barriers. Companies report trading with Europe is now more difficult as Larry Summers says exit from EU ‘contributed to higher inflation.’

  4. Brexit and au pairs ~ Bloomberg: Helen Chandler-Wilde — How Brexit Killed the UK’s Au Pair Industry. Families often relied on au pairs from Europe to solve their child care problems. It’s not so easy, anymore.

  5. UK-France ~ UKICE: Understanding the France-UK border control conundrum: a closer look. Anne Daguerre unpacks the long-standing tensions between the UK and France over responsibility for people trying to cross the border by irregular means, highlighting Sunak’s recent calls for a UK-EU returns agreement in the absence of a bilateral agreement with France.

  6. Integrated Review ~ House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee: Refreshing our approach? Updating the Integrated Review: Government Response to the Committee’s Fifth Report.

  7. UK, EU, Ukraine ~ UKICE: UK and EU responses to the war in Ukraine. The intensification of Russia’s war in Ukraine, with its large-scale invasion in February 2022, has up-ended the security order in Europe. The range of actions taken in support of Ukraine has encompassed sanctions, military equipment and training, and broader financial and humanitarian aid; taken both unilaterally by Ukrainian allies, and through international organisations notably, the G7 and NATO. This explainer looks at the UK and EU responses to the war in Ukraine, setting out the means by which both have been providing assistance to Ukraine, and how Russia’s war in Ukraine has led to a shared foreign policy approach pursued by the EU and the UK.

  8. British strategy ~ The Times: CS Venkatakrishnan — Global Britain badly needs a bold strategy for growth.

  9. Semiconductor strategy ~ Chatham House: Patrick Schröder and Olivia O’Sullivan — The balancing act for the UK’s semiconductor strategy. How should the UK balance economic security and the energy transition to net-zero in times of worsening geopolitical tension?

  10. Lib Dems ~ FT: Miranda Green — The great ‘Brexit’ and ‘coalition’ taboos are holding the Lib Dems back. Pressure is mounting on leader Ed Davey to change tack.

  11. Conservatives ~ FT: Robert Shrimsley — How the Thatcherites lost their Brexit dream and their party. The trade-off the original Tory Leavers made with populists handed the Conservatives over to an alien worldview.

  12. Brexit ~ International Politics: Tim Oliver — Reflections: the UK after Brexit. The articles in this issue have explored the effects Brexit has had on the UK’s international role, identity, and status. In doing so they touch on the wider question of how significant a change Brexit has been for the UK. Most answers to that question point to effects on the constitution, unity, identity, political economy of the UK, and the country’s place in Europe and the wider world. This concluding article highlights processes of both change and continuity. It explores how Brexit has triggered a critical juncture but this has not yet significantly changed the ideas (especially those held by the British elite) about the UK’s role, identity, and status. Such a change may happen in time because the Brexit critical juncture is still happening, with the wider political fallout, especially to the UK’s territorial integrity, still unfolding. Although even here, the potential for continuity should not be underestimated.

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