PRESS RELEASE:- Castries/London, 21 June 2016. British Influence in conjunction with Anthony Bailey Consulting published and launched today in London and Castries a new and comprehensive 76-page report entitled Brexit: The Commonwealth Dimension, written by Jonathan Lis in conjunction with Peter Wilding, Director of British Influence and including a foreword by British Influence Co-President Anthony Bailey.
The report explores and addresses the following topics:
- The world has changed dramatically since the 1960s and trade and foreign-policy relationships are both regional and global, transcending a group such as the Commonwealth, with its vast disparity of wealth, populations and national interests. There is no need to choose between the Commonwealth and EU because they are profoundly different organizations with different objectives.
- Far from Brexit presenting the UK with an opportunity to reconnect or grow closer to the Commonwealth, in the case of Cyprus and Malta, Britain stands to lose friendship and influence among two of its closest EU partners, and in fact pull Commonwealth members further apart.
- After Brexit, Britain’s voice would be smaller, and could not command the loyalty of the Commonwealth in any putative competition with the EU. The UK could similarly no longer harness the strength and clout of the EU to deliver its own agenda on development and human rights. The EU would still influence the Commonwealth on these issues, but without Britain’s input.
- The prospect of any bilateral FTAs between a post-Brexit UK and Commonwealth countries is remote in the short and even medium term. The fact that Germany is so often a more important EU trading partner for Commonwealth countries than the UK, demonstrates the Brexit fallacy of a Commonwealth waiting to throw in its lot with Britain.
- No Commonwealth leader is endorsing Brexit – in fact the opposite is true.
Sir Anthony Bailey, KGCN, OBE, Co-President of British Influence and Chairman of Anthony Bailey Consulting, in launching the report in the Caribbean said:
“I’m a passionate believer in both the Commonwealth and the EU but it is time for voters to understand that the Commonwealth wants Britain to be leading not leaving the European Union. The Commonwealth wants closer trading, political and security links with Europe. Today 80% of the Commonwealth have, or are seeking, free trade deals with the 500 million consumers of the EU. They want Britain in to help them, not out to thwart them. Its not a question of choice but rather that Britain is served by both and not by having to forgo one or the other.
“Dreams of restoring the Empire are not only delusions but deeply dangerous to our continuing relations with our oldest friends.
“Far from uniting the Commonwealth family, Brexit could damage it – as countries choose practical economic necessity over a sentimentality shared only by those who are few nostalgic rather than realistic.”
This new report is the third of a series of reports published by British Influence and Anthony Bailey Consulting ahead of the EU Referendum to be held in Britain on 23 June 2016.