FBC's Claire Chick on Britain and Europe
FBC’s Claire Chick was a guest on RFI’s Carrefour de l’Europe on 7th February. The programme considered different European perspectives on whether Europe is a problem or a solution. Listen to Claire on RFI here.
Claire provided insight into British views on the matter, suggesting that Europe is not a problem, rather a misunderstanding. While Britain is not anti-European, she argues, it resents the forced institutionalisation of the European Union which it never agreed to. This misunderstanding feeds into this Euro-sceptic identity which Britain so famously carries.
Perhaps Britain is engaged more in Europe through its bilateral relations. Behind the scenes, says Claire, a lot is happening, notably between Britain and France. Franco-British cooperation is thus an important element for British foreign policy and European relations, allowing more flexibility for Britain to achieve its goals.
Claire was also keen to correct assumptions that Britain did not offer any solidarity to its European counterparts. The recent conference on Syrian refugees which raised £7 billion is but one example of British solidarity within the European context. Britain wishes to maintain solidarity bonds with Europe, but is not so keen to have European quotas imposed on domestic affairs.
What future for Europe, then? There is only one solution: accept a Europe which progresses at different speeds to allow respect for each other’s identities and strengths. Europe should be a strength to all, not a weakness.