US-UK: Strains on a special relationship

  • 20 April 2016
  • From the section UK
Winston Churchill with US President Harry Truman., leaving for Fulton, Missouri, where Churchill made his famous 'Iron Curtain' speech, 1946 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Churchill was a big advocate of the special relationship

The United States has long held views about Britain's place in the world.

Even before World War Two had ended, Washington was musing on how a victorious but exhausted Britain would adjust to a world where it had less power and influence.

The US Secretary of State Edward Stettinius wrote to President Roosevelt and said: "Never underestimate the difficulty an Englishman faces in adjusting to a secondary role after so long seeing leadership as a national right."

The Americans were uncertain of how Winston Churchill saw the post-War world and Britain's place in it.

In 1944, just before the Normandy landings, he had turned to General de Gaulle of France and told him: "Every time Britain has to decide between Europe and the open sea, it is always the open sea we will chose."

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EU Referendum: Don't discount raw emotion

Vote Leave campaigner Image copyright PA
Image caption Campaigners have been struggling to get their message across in the early stages

American generals like to talk about "preparing the battlefield". And so it has been with the EU referendum campaign.

There have already been eight weeks of skirmishes but Friday is the curtain-raiser on the official EU referendum campaign.

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Panama Papers: Tax havens and the new politics

  • 6 April 2016
  • From the section Europe
People protest in front of Parliament building in Reykjavik Image copyright Getty Images

On Tuesday, outside the town hall-sized parliament in Reykjavik, a small crowd kicked the fence, banged pots and pans and threw eggs at the building.

The Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson had just stood down over allegations he had failed to disclose his interest in his family's offshore account. He was the first political casualty of the Panama leaks scandal.

Read full article Panama Papers: Tax havens and the new politics

EU referendum: British concerns resonate elsewhere in Europe

David Cameron (left) and Francois Hollande Image copyright PA
Image caption Is Britain an outsider when it comes to Europe?

In continental Europe the UK has often been cast as the spoiler, the renegade, the outsider - the island nation incapable of understanding the European idea.

History, it is often said, has taught the UK different lessons.

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EU deal: What will it mean for Cameron at home and abroad?

Team photo at EU summit Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Happy families? Heads of state and government gathered for the traditional group photograph at the Brussels summit

David Cameron will now begin the campaign that will define his legacy and his time in office.

The battleground for the next four months has been laid out. The prime minister and the "in" campaign will insist that the UK's relationship with the EU has been fundamentally changed, with several key demands met.

Read full article EU deal: What will it mean for Cameron at home and abroad?

UK and the EU: Referendum in a time of discontent

Migrants passing through Macedonia on the way to the EU Image copyright EPA
Image caption How much will fears over migration influence voters in the UK's EU referendum?

In the great and emerging debate about whether Britain should be in or out of Europe, the "ins" already have their script but there is one narrative they fear.

The plan of those who favour staying in the EU will be to focus on the economy, to demand from the "outs" what the British economy would look like outside the EU.

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Is the EU at risk of breaking up?

  • 26 January 2016
  • From the section Europe
Macedonian Army engineers set a razor wire atop a fence on the border line between Macedonia and Greece Image copyright AP
Image caption Macedonia is building a razor-wire fence on its border

For the past 10 days, Europe's leaders have been engaged in a bout of gloom.

They openly admit Europe has lost control of the migrant crisis, and they fear for the future of the European project itself.

Read full article Is the EU at risk of breaking up?

Sizing up Britain’s EU renegotiation

David Cameron Image copyright EPA
Image caption David Cameron hopes to secure a deal to keep the UK within the EU

In less than a month, the prime minister is expected to have secured a deal he can put to the British people over the country's future in Europe .

The deal is not done - but, cabinet ministers say, "essential pieces" of renegotiation are in place.

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Cologne attacks' profound impact on Europe

  • 11 January 2016
  • From the section Europe
A woman walks in front of the main railway station in Cologne Image copyright Reuters

The events in Cologne and other cities over New Year have left a deep imprint in Germany.

The stories of women running a gauntlet of sexual assault by young men have tapped into society's deepest fears.

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Europe set for a fundamental clash of ideas

  • 1 January 2016
  • From the section Europe
A child refugee, one of 160 people captured attempting to illegally cross to Greece via the Aegean Sea, in the Bodrum district of Mugla province, Turkey Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Turkey has been asked to limit numbers crossing into Europe

In Europe 2015 was, in part, the year of the unexpected: migrants, Schengen in doubt, terror, Volkswagen.

And yet much played out as predicted: a fresh Greek drama, a fragile economy and the continued rise of anti-establishment parties.

Read full article Europe set for a fundamental clash of ideas