Brexit Risks Stripping U.K. of Clout on World Bodies, Panel Says

  • Britain has to ‘prove value’ as member of UN Security Council
  • Essential to build links with EU states, Lords committee says

The U.K. will lose influence at the United Nations and other international bodies unless it builds new alliances and invests more in diplomacy after it quits the European Union, a panel of lawmakers said on Thursday.

The country will need to “prove its value as a permanent member of the Security Council” at the UN and compensate for its reduced influence in that and other forums as a result of Brexit, the House of Lords International Relations Committee said in a report.

“Given the new status that the U.K. will have outside of the EU, our committee feels strongly that the UN will be an increasingly important arena in which to promote our foreign-policy objectives,” Chairman David Howell said in a statement. “We will need to reinvigorate both old ties and build new strong alliances where possible.”

Britain and the other 27 EU member states work together on common positions and have increased impact as a result, the panel said. The 2007 European Union Treaty commits member states to cooperating in international bodies and says France and Britain should act on the UN Security Council to “ensure the defense of the positions and interests of the union.” Britain has more “weight” at the UN as a result, according to the report.

By developing “a fresh relationship” with EU member states, Prime Minister Theresa May’s government will be able to continue to wield power in international organizations.

Strong Ally

“The U.K. should negotiate its exit from the EU bearing in mind that one of our strongest allies in international organizations will be the EU,” the panel said. “As part of its Brexit negotiations, the U.K. should aim to set up effective ways of continuing to work closely with the EU at the UN.”

If Britain fails to keep up its links to the EU it will be seen as more closely aligned to the U.S. and will lose influence as a result, Valerie Amos, former UN under-secretary for humanitarian affairs and a member of the House of Lords, told the committee as it prepared the report.

The U.K. helps to “interpret to the rest of the world what is happening in the EU, and the rest of the world expects us to have a huge, positive influence on that -- we will lose that,” Amos told the committee. London’s relationship with Washington would then come under increased scrutiny and Britain could be “seen as followers, rather than partners in our relationship with the U.S.,” she said.

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