Letter: Britain's ambivalent foreign policy fails

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The Independent Online
Sir: Steve Crawshaw's report (12 July) on President Clinton's declaration that Germany has now taken over from Britain the status of a special relationship with the US, and the strong support voiced in his Berlin speech for German leadership in uniting Europe, has finally exposed the bankruptcy of British foreign policy over the past 15 years. Our ambivalent commitment to the developing European Union seemed partly motivated by the mistaken belief that our parallel special relationship with the US gave us an influential role in both camps. We now find that we count for little in either of them.

Instead of glorying in the exercise of the British veto and championing our opt-outs from the mainstream of European integration, we should surely undertake a fundamental review of our European policies. Most of our partners are anxious to move ahead towards full economic monetary and political union as quickly as practicable, to be able to face together the new challenges presented by the collapse of the Soviet empire and the instability in the East. There is increasing talk about a multi-speed Europe with a core group of countries - ready to move towards a European federation - being in the fast lane, while the laggards are left behind to catch up later.

Britain's real interests are to put further hesitations behind us and be in that fast lane with the rest of the European leaders.

Yours faithfully,

ERNEST WISTRICH

London, NW3

12 July

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