This page was archived on October 2020.


Trade liberalisation and overall relationship

55 - Relations with the US on Brexit and Grexit

Grade: B+
Unity 2/5
Resources 5/5
Strategy 3/5
Impact 4/5
Total 14/20

The US is playing a small but important role in debates about the future of the eurozone and the EU

It is difficult to discern a unified EU position on what it wants from the US on internal issues such as British membership of the EU and Greek membership of the eurozone. Certainly, the government of British Prime Minister David Cameron has made clear that it would prefer the Obama administration to stay out of its debate on EU membership, while German Chancellor Wolfgang Schäuble resisted US intervention during the Greek crisis.

Nevertheless, it is fair to say that the EU has an interest in remaining whole and that it would broadly welcome US policies that advance this objective. It is also true that the US has actively worked to keep the UKin the EU and Greece in the euro. Through these actions, the US has played a positive role in helping the EU to manage its internal crises.

The Obama administration sees its role in the Brexit debate as being to discredit any notion of an anglosphericor transatlantic relationship as a substitute for EU membership. In October 2015, the Office of the US Trade Representative ruled out a bilateral trade deal with the UK if it left the EU. Obama has publicly discouraged Brexit, and senior White House officials have participated in“track 1.5 meetings”– involving both officials and civil society –in the UK, where they made their opposition to Brexit clear.

The US played the role of mediator in the Grexit crisis, sometimes to the chagrin of creditor nations such as Germany. During the crisis this summer, the US encouraged Greece and Europe to reach an agreement that would keep Greece in the eurozone through conversations with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders including France’s Hollande, inan effort to rally support for a negotiated settlement.US interventions in these internal EU debates have largely been consistent with the interests ofthe EU, and have therefore positively affected their course.