European Union Views of the UK post-Brexit and of the Future EU-UK Relationship

Primary Author or Creator:
Kirsty Hughes
Scottish Centre on European Relations
Alternative Published Date
June 2021
Type of Resource:
Policy Paper
Fast Facts

This paper analyses how the UK is currently perceived across the EU, how the future EU-UK relationship is considered in the medium term, and how the UK’s constitutional strains are understood. 

More details

Overall, the UK’s image, reputation and influence is seen as having been badly damaged by the decision to leave the EU and by the way UK politics have unfolded since the June 2016 vote, including its relationship with the EU. Where the UK had previously been commonly seen as a pragmatic, serious and highly influential player in European affairs, it is now seen as unreliable, unpredictable and having lost substantial influence by no longer having a voice and vote within the EU. For many member states, a long-standing ally and partner in EU affairs has been lost and a new relationship both bilaterally and between the EU-UK needs to be built.

There has been surprise at the way the UK – both government and parliament – has handled the Brexit process. It appears to many that the UK government does not know what it wants, only what it does not want.

Trust in the UK has been severely damaged, in particular by the clauses in the UK’s Internal Market bill that renege on the 2019 Withdrawal Agreement. This loss of trust is profound, leading many to question whether the UK can be trusted when it signs future agreements.