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Commonwealth and the European Union in the 21st Century : Challenges and opportunities in international
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Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union? Is the Commonwealth of Nations still relevant for its very diverse member states, ranging from small island states to Australia and India? In contemporary British politics, both organisations have come under fierce criticism, sometimes leading to hasty assessments of historical experiences and current policies. Given the fact that the United Kingdom, Cyprys and Malta are members of both organisations, and that ‘Brexit’ would have far-ranging consequences much beyond British shores, relations between the EU and the Commonwealth have featured surprisingly rarely in major debates of international policy.
This edited volume suggests possible – and even desirable – connections between the two organisations by investing current contacts, fault lines, external critique and outside perspectives. Focusing on soft power, development, humanitarianism and modes of intervention, the authors investigate disputes over international norms and trade patterns. Through global approaches and specific case studies drawn from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, they demonstrate where opportunities for international cooperation were missed and how useful partnerships might be found. The EU and the Commonwealth are undoubtedly very different organisations but distinctions can provide grounds for meaningful, relevant cooperation. More strategic dialogue between the Commonwealth and the EU, this volume agues, would be a valuable asset for the two international organisations, their member states and their citizens. This book was originally published as a special issue ofThe Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs.