Angus Lapsley, incoming UK PSC Ambassador
Robert Cooper, Diplomat
Susi Dennison, Senior Policy Fellow, ECFR
What does the UK really want from the EU? What does the EU need the UK for? With the general election scheduled for 7 May, the UK’s relationship with the EU is on the line. While debate on a possible UK exit from the EU has reached fever pitch – UKIP polled higher, and won two seats in the House of Commons this year – the ECFR 2015 Foreign Policy Scorecard shows that at a working level, British diplomats have continued to engage constructively and the country has shown far more clout as part of the EU collective than alone – such as pushing for a positive conclusion of TTIP negotiations, and supporting sanctions on Russia. This runs directly counter to the government-level rhetoric on avoiding the constraints of European co-operation. This panel explored where and how the UK has influenced European foreign policy decision making in 2014, and what is at stake in the Brexit debate from a foreign policy perspective.
Angus Lapsley is the incoming UK PSC Ambassador.He served John Major and then Tony Blair as Home Affairs Private Secretary. In 1999 he joined the Foreign Office, leading the EU Institutions Unit during the negotiations of the Nice Treaty. Posted to Paris between 2001 and 2005, he followed foreign and security policy issues. In 2006 he was Deputy Balkans Co-ordinator in the FCO, and from 2006 – 2010 he was Counsellor and head of the Common & Foreign Security Policy (CFSP), CSDP and EU Enlargement team at the UK Representation to the EU. In 2010 he became Director (Americas) in the FCO, overseeing the UK’s diplomatic operations in the region, before moving to the Cabinet Office as Director in the European and Global Issues Secretariat in April 2012, where he has overseen the UK’s Balance of Competences Review.
Robert Cooper is a former diplomat who worked for Javier Solana and Catherine Ashton. Before moving to Brussels in 2002, he was Special Representative for the British Government in Afghanistan. He has published a number of essays and articles on international affairs, including his book of essays: ‘The Breaking of Nations’ (Atlantic Press 2003). Robert Cooper is a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, and has co- chaired ECFR’s Scorecard Steering Group since September 2014.
Susi Dennison is a Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Her work there includes leading the ECFR European Foreign Policy Scorecard, and working within the Global Strategy project. Susi previously worked at Amnesty International and HM Treasury.
This event was organised in partnership with the European Commission Representation in the UK and the LSE European Institute.