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European Union
October 18, 2017

Judy Asks: Does May Need Merkel for a Brexit Deal?

Henry Jackson Society

A selection of experts answer a new question from Judy Dempsey on the foreign and security policy challenges shaping Europe’s role in the world.

James Rogers, Director of the Global Britain Program at the Henry Jackson Society

What a strange question! A better question would be: Do May and Merkel need one another? The answer to this question is “yes.” It is in everyone’s interests for there to be a mutually beneficial deal for when the UK leaves the EU in 2019. Any attempt—deliberate or accidental—to undermine the UK economy will almost certainly destabilize European security, which Germany is the leading beneficiary of.

The UK is the largest European military, intelligence, and security spender—and by some margin. It is the only European country that designates its nuclear forces directly to the defense of NATO, which protects almost every EU country. The UK also has deep and pervasive security links to all non-NATO EU nations—especially Ireland, Sweden, and Finland.

If Europeans have concerns about Putin’s long-term intentions and misgivings over Trump’s future commitment to European security, is this really the time to allow the UK economy to come to harm, especially as it is the underwriter of the British nuclear deterrent, armed forces, and global intelligence network?

British and German leaders should be working closely with one another in these times of uncertainty to secure future prosperity. Britain is only leaving the EU; it is not leaving Europe.

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