Transatlantic Stress Test

Brexit, Europe and Uncle Sam

The U.S. relationship to Europe and Germany is likely to change following Britain's decision to leave the European Union. Here, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and the Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, at a May summit meeting in Tokyo.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The relationship between Europe and the United States will change at least subtly, if not in a major way, following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

  • Facts


    • The U.S. will have to rethink its approach to Europe following the Brexit vote.
    • The British withdrawal from the European Union will likely elevate Germany’s role and influence in the 28-nation bloc.
    • The U.S. presidential election could affect America’s new posture towards Europe, as will the new political dynamic within a smaller E.U.
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From a U.S. perspective, Europe was always a bit of a riddle wrapped in an enigma. Decades ago, U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger lamented that he had no single telephone number to call to deal with a continent that generates about a third of the world’s GDP.

With Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union, the U.S.’s challenge to maintain a functioning dialogue with Europe has grown much more difficult.

Barack Obama came to London this spring to urge Britain to remain in the European Union. British voters, for reasons entirely of their own making, rejected that advice. Now Britain’s protracted divorce proceedings from the 28-nation bloc, which could last two years or even longer, are likely to test America’s posture toward Europe at a decisive moment.


Brexit Vote Hits Currencies-01


Not only is the face of Europe changing, but America’s is too. In less than five months, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will most likely lead the world’s largest economy and military superpower into a new relationship with Britain, and just as importantly, with the European Union and with Germany.

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