Foreign policy: On July 1, 1997, Great Britain and Northern Ireland handed over their crown colony, Hong Kong, to the People’s Republic of China in accordance with the treaty. After British troops had participated in the UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia since 1992, the British government has now shown itself uncompromising towards the Serbian President S. Milošević in the Kosovo conflict(Participation of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in NATO air strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from March to June 1999; afterwards provision of a national contingent of the KFOR peacekeeping force). After the terrorist attacks on the USA on September 11, 2001, Great Britain and Northern Ireland played a leading role in the formation of an international anti-terror alliance and took part directly in the American military action initiated in October 2001 against the Taliban regime and al-Qaeda terrorist bases in Afghanistan (British high command over the international protection force ISAF until June 2002). In the Iraq crisis of 2002/03, Great Britain and Northern Ireland once again proved to be the USA’s closest ally. Despite domestic political criticism (including the resignation of several cabinet members of the Blair government), the House of Commons approved on March 18. In 2003 British participation in the military intervention in Iraq, which was initiated two days later, even without the UN mandate sought unsuccessfully by Great Britain and Northern Ireland; thereafter British soldiers remained stationed in Iraq (as part of a military zone established in the south or as part of a multinational security force). The accusation against the Blair cabinet of having exaggerated the danger emanating from Iraq in the run-up to the military action (including inaccurate intelligence reports on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction) led to the establishment of a non-partisan commission in 2004, which, despite criticism, exonerated the government of the accusation of deliberate deception. In 2011, British units took part in the international military action to protect the civilian population in Libya. In 2013, the House of Commons rejected military involvement in the Syrian conflict. In September 2014 it spoke out in favor of participating in the air strikes against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, on December 2nd, 2015 the MPs also voted with a majority for air strikes on IS in Syria.
After demonstrators stormed the British embassy in Tehran in November 2011, Great Britain and Northern Ireland expelled the Iranian embassy staff in London and closed the mission in Tehran. Diplomatic relations were only normalized again in connection with the settlement of the nuclear dispute with Iran in 2015.
According to Internetsailors, relations with Argentina, which continued to lay claim to the Falkland Islands, remained tense. In a referendum in March 2013, 99.8% of those who voted were in favor of keeping the archipelago with Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The Blair government activated British involvement in the EU, but did not integrate the country into the euro zone (official rejection on 9.6.2003). After the rejection of the European Constitution by referendums in France and the Netherlands in June 2005, the government suspended preparations for the euro referendum planned for spring 2006. After the failure of the crisis summit in Brussels on June 17, 2005, for the v. a. The British government’s tough stance on financial planning was blamed (calling for fundamental reforms in European agricultural subsidy policy as a prerequisite for Great Britain and Northern Ireland to forego the contribution discounts granted to them on the EU budget), Blair took over on 1.7.2005 the EU Council Presidency. At the initiative of the British government, the finance ministers of the G-8 countries decided on June 11, 2005 in London to cancel debt for the poorest countries and to increase development aid. During the negotiations on the EU Reform Treaty (Lisbon Treaty) in December 2007, the British government once again insisted on exemptions, but withdrew from domestic policy plans for a referendum on the treaty. The House of Lords approved this on June 18, 2008, after the House of Commons had already approved the agreement on March 11, 2008. In 2011 the country did not participate in the European Fiscal Compact. On March 29, 2017, the British EU ambassador in Brussels presented Great Britain’s declaration of withdrawal. The Brexit -Negotiations with the European Union started on June 19, 2017. Great Britain left the European Union on January 31, 2020.
In the Europe-wide refugee crisis, Great Britain and Northern Ireland worked in cooperation with France, above all, to defuse the crisis surrounding access to the Eurotunnel near Calais. The British government supported strict border security on the French side.
Great Britain blamed Russia for a poison attack on a former Russian secret agent and his daughter in Salisbury on March 4th, 2018 and expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the country.