Europe's Britain: Analysing European Views of Britain in Europe

Friday, July 14, 2017
WMB - Hugh Fraser Seminar Room 2 (University of Glasgow)
Tim Oliver , LSE IDEAS, LSE
Britain’s relations with the EU and Europe more broadly have often been written about from a British perspective. This creates a truncated view of Britain’s place in European politics, something evident in debates both during and after Britain’s EU referendum. Those promising new UK-EU relationships, for example, were often oblivious to what the rest of the EU and Europe felt of such relationships. Successive British government might have been guilty of misreading how the rest of the EU view Britain’s role, contributions and significance. The rest of the EU is now struggling to come to terms with Brexit, in part because of twenty seven competing government views (to say nothing of official views by EU institutions) about Britain’s place in Europe. This paper forms part of a larger project looking at European views of Britain’s place in European integration and politics. The paper discusses three parts of that project. First, it discusses the ways in which Britain’s role in Europe can be examined from the perspectives of others in Europe. In particular it looks at differences in focusing on elite and popular views. Second, the paper sets out the existing literature that looks at European views of Britain and its role in Europe. Finally, it identifies some of the traditions and stereotypes held elsewhere in Europe about Britain’s role. It briefly discusses where these came from and analyses what influence – if any – they have played in shaping European politics.