After the United Kingdom’s referendum in June in which voters decided to leave the European Union—the so-called “Brexit”—leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have questioned what the decision means for the U.K.’s role in the world. Will an independent U.K. become more inward looking and focused on domestic policy? How will the Brexit affect European foreign policy and security cooperation and the “special relationship” between the United States and the U.K.?
To discuss the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU and the implications for transatlantic relations, the Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) at Brookings hosted a conversation on September 14 with Sir Alan Duncan MP, minister for state at the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In his remarks, Duncan nade the case that the U.K.’s new global role will not only remain undiminished, but might in fact be strengthened following the country’s departure from the EU.
Sir Alan Duncan was appointed minister of state for Europe and the Americas at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on July 17, 2016. He was previously minister of state for international development from 2010 to 2014 and the prime minister’s special envoy to Yemen (2014-2016) and Oman (2014-2015). He has served as Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton since 1992 and held numerous roles in the Shadow Cabinet until 2010.
Brookings Senior Fellow and CUSE Director Fiona Hill introduced Minister Duncan and moderated a conversation after his opening remarks.
To subscribe or manage your subscriptions to our top event topic lists, please visit our event topics page.
AAPI Heritage Month: Safeguarding Asian American inclusion and belonging
President López Obrador's extension of the term of Supreme Court chief Arturo Zaldívar is part of his strong effort to recentralize power in the Mexican presidency and hollow out the independence and power of other Mexican institutions. His other moves to bend the justice system to his will include a reform that lowered the salary of judges but did not improve the quality of prosecutors and his unwillingness to allow an independent selection of the attorney general, with López Obrador himself retaining the power of appointment. His latest move with the two-year extension of Zaldívar’s term is especially worrisome. Zaldívar is also the president of the powerful Federal Judiciary Council. The council appoints and dismisses judges, sets career advancement rules and disciplines judges. Zaldívar will be setting the council’s and, thus, the whole judiciary’s, agenda and priorities for two years. This allows López Obrador to influence how courts will rule in cases regarding the executive branch, what cases they take up and the legality of new policies. These moves are taking place when the effectiveness of the judiciary in Mexico remains limited and deeply concerning. The attorney general’s office has proven weak, unwilling to take up key cases such as against the suspects in the brazen attack on Mexico City’s security minister, Omar García Harfuch—an event that symbolized the impunity with which Mexican criminal groups operate. Mexico’s justice system showed itself equally meek and disappointing in inadequately investigating the alleged complicity of former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos and dismissing the case, potentially the most significant case of corruption and criminal collusion charges against a high-ranking Mexican official in two decades. A decade and a half after Mexico initiated its justice system reforms, 95 percent of federal cases still go unpunished. President López Obrador has scored some points, but the already precariously weak rule of law in Mexico, and thus the Mexican people, will suffer.