Modern Europe is not just a new organisation here in the UK, but is a new kind of organisation, specifically tailored to promote the UK’s international relationships and influence – and to ensure that UK policy makers and politicians of the centre and centre right have opportunities to learn from their peers. In the many other democratic nations with whom we have friendly relationships – relationships are critically important both to our economic well-being and also to our wider role in the world.
The organisation will not be party political and it will operate resolutely and clearly in the public interest and in the political mainstream, promoting international dialogue. In Germany, there are institutes affiliated to the major parties, which ensure that the politics of the Federal Republic are widely understood amongst current and future leaders in other democratic nations. Modern Europe is very much modelled upon the work carried out by the Konrad Adenuaer Stiftung (KAS) and I envisage that some of its work programme will be in partnership with KAS.
Whatever the ultimate outcome of the Brexit negotiations, it remains the firm and settled policy of all the major UK political parties that close working and trading relationships with other European nations are of the utmost importance. Thanks to its unique place in the world, the UK already has excellent relationships outside Europe too, most notably, but by no means exclusively, across the Commonwealth. Those relationships will have to be extended and deepened in the era of Brexit.