The UK and Canada recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at allowing the two countries to optimise their respective diplomatic resources by sharing embassy and consulate sites, the joint acquisition, supply and use of services, as well as collaboration on crisis response, consular services, security, diplomatic mail, information management and IT. This CEPS Commentary argues that the MoU on Mutual Support of Missions Abroad runs counter to the spirit of loyal cooperation, in particular in the realm of EU foreign policy. It also raises challenges to coherence, consistency and effectiveness of EU action in policy areas concerning visas, trade and consular protection. Moreover, the agreement may throw a spanner in the works of EU solidarity and the creation of a stronger EU identity, both internally and externally.
Steven Blockmans is a CEPS Senior Research Fellow and Head of the EU Foreign Policy programme. Sergio Carrera is a CEPS Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Justice and Home Affairs programme.