Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

NATO, the European Union and support for Ukraine are the foreign policy priorities of the new British Prime Minister

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jul8,2024

NATO, the European Union and support for Ukraine - the foreign policy priorities of the new British Prime Minister

Photo: Cyrus Starmer /Photo by Claudia Greco/POOL/AFP

After a grueling six-week election campaign, center-left politician Keir Starmer must solve mountains of domestic problems and improve Britain's relations with the rest of the world.

This is a difficult task for a new leader who has never worked in government, much less led one. But Starmer insists he can lead Britain “in a world that is more unstable” than it has been for many years, Voice of America reports.

Starmer faces a big challenge in the coming week international debut: he will fly to Washington on Tuesday for a NATO summit marking the organisation's 75th anniversary.

Starmer said he would seek a more active role for Britain on the world stage after years of frayed relations with Europe over Brexit. He promised to improve relations with the European Union after Brexit, but stressed that the issue of joining the EU is not being considered.

Within hours of taking office, the new prime minister held a series of talks with world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen and Vladimir Zelensky.

Starmer promised unconditional support for Ukraine in its war against Russia and an increase in UK military spending to 2.5% of GDP, although he did not give a date for achieving this. On many external issues, his policies are similar to those of his predecessor Rishi Sunak.

Starmer's new government will include Foreign Secretary David Lammy, one of whose main goals in office will be “reconnecting Britain with the world”, as well as Defense Secretary John Healey, who said during a visit to Kiev in May that a Labor government would “stand with Ukraine, resist Russian aggression and prosecute Putin for his war crimes.”

The new prime minister may also have to work with Trump if he wins the presidential election in November. Trump has completely ignored Starmer's victory, but has sent congratulations to the far-right politician Nigel Farage, who won a seat in the British parliament at his eighth attempt.

“The challenge for Starmer is to persuade the US – and other wavering NATO members – to remain a defender of Ukraine, not just on grounds of sovereignty but also of European security,” says Bronwen Maddox, director of international relations at the British think tank Chatham House.

Starmer also faces divisions within her party over Israel's war on Hamas. Several Labour MPs have suffered election defeats after being challenged by Palestinian independents angered by the party's initial refusal to call unequivocally for a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict.

By Sergei Daga

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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