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Toward a Privileged EU-UK Partnership

After the United Kingdom's general election this month, the Brexit debate is over. The country will leave the European Union on January 31, 2020, which means that now is the time to start drafting a blueprint for the future relationship, particularly regarding security policy.

BERLIN – Following Boris Johnson’s landslide victory in the United Kingdom’s general election this month, Britain is now on track to leave the European Union on January 31, 2020. Johnson has a clear parliamentary majority with which to secure a deal for an orderly exit from the bloc. Although the UK and the EU now face long and difficult negotiations to establish a mutually beneficial trade arrangement, Brexit itself is now a certainty.

What will this mean for Europe? The UK is the EU’s second-largest national economy, one of only two European nuclear powers, and a permanent, veto-wielding member of the United Nations Security Council (alongside France). The country has always been vitally important to Europe, both culturally and historically. Whenever Europe’s liberty and security have been at stake, Britain has reliably come to its defense.

What Brexit will mean for the UK remains to be seen. Much will depend not on the exit agreement, but on how the country navigates the changing conditions of the twenty-first century. As for the EU, the UK’s withdrawal obviously will not leave the bloc stronger. A geopolitical and military heavyweight is departing, and it is doing so at a time when US President Donald Trump has cast doubt on America’s longstanding security guarantee.

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