US officials have repeatedly valued Britain’s membership of the European Union (EU), saying they do not want the UK to leave the 27-nation bloc.
Last month, British Prime Minster David Cameron set a deadline to hold a national in-out referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union by the end of 2017.
In his long-awaited speech on Europe in the City of London on January 23, Cameron pledged to hold an in-out vote on Britain’s future relationship with the EU during the early part of the next parliament, by the end of 2017 at the latest, if his Conservative party wins the 2015 general election.
However, the US government is worried that Britain’s slide towards the European exit door would result in losing its strategic ally within the Union. A move away from Europe, or leaving entirely, would definitely upset the UK’s old partner in Washington.
Meanwhile, it should be taken into account that having a relationship with the US was the major foreign policy initiative in Britain over the past century. A senior US State Department official declared that it would be a serious blow to the special relationship between Washington and London if the UK leaves the EU.
Although Britain now more than ever wants to be out of Europe, outside the bloc the country will become isolated and probably will lose the support of America.
From Washington’s point of view, the British government must make a stand against the people and the UK Parliament if it wants to have the US support. It is particularly important now, because there is great enthusiasm for signing a free trade agreement between the US and the European Union and Washington does not want Britain to be out of the treaty.
This comes as there are some common goals in the US-UK relation and the US government is willing to encourage London to continue its membership in the bloc, seeking to strengthen political and economic relations in the European Union. Although the special relationship between the two countries has weakened, the US still has the most trust in Britain and Australia among their partners around the world. The Pentagon also has close relations with its counterparts in those countries.
Britain has a special status and it can benefit the most from its relation with Washington compared with other partners of the US, but of course, provided that it is able to overcome the desire for the EU exit and to accept its role as one of the US’s main clients.
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