Germany-UK Rapprochement and Potential Geopolitical Implications

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Germany and the United Kingdom are two states located on the European continent that have had a long-standing rivalry between them. This rivalry has been the cause of two world wars and has inflicted significant wounds on the world. During the Cold War period, although the parties acted together based on a common threat perception, they actually continued to maintain their rivalry to some extent. It is known that this rivalry has persisted until recently.

In the post-Cold War period, while the United Kingdom pursued close relations with the United States, Germany aimed to act more autonomously with the belief that the Soviet threat had disappeared. At one point, the United Kingdom sought closer ties with China to become the ultimate destination of the Belt and Road Initiative in Europe. However, it eventually gave up on this and turned back to the United States. Germany, on the other hand, strengthened its relations with Russia due to regional dynamics and energy needs.

Within the scope of these developments, the most significant change in the Western world occurred with the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. As Brexit deepened the differences between the United Kingdom and Europe, it also affected the relationship between London and Berlin. While the United Kingdom strengthened its relations with the United States, Germany further strengthened its influence within Europe.

Germany aimed to pursue a more autonomous foreign policy and, at the same time, transform the EU into a more independent actor by reducing its reliance on the influence of the United States in international politics. This situation weakened the relations between the United States and the United Kingdom with Germany and the EU. During the same period, the negative impact of US President Donald Trump on the relationships further increased the cracks in the Western world.

Although this cracking slowed down with Joe Biden becoming the President of the United States, it largely diminished with the Russia-Ukraine War. Especially as a result of Russia’s initiation of the war reshaping security perceptions in Europe, the United States has reestablished its influence over Europe through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). During this process, the United States and the United Kingdom adopted a firm stance against Russia and provided significant support to the Ukrainian Army to achieve their goal of prolonging the war. Germany, on the other hand, aimed for a peaceful resolution of the conflict as soon as possible. Therefore, Germany provided limited support to the Ukrainian Army.

Germany’s policy led to an increase in pressure on Germany. However, the Berlin administration made a significant change in its foreign policy by announcing in January 2023 that it would provide tank support to the Ukrainian Army, aiming for the conflict to be resolved through peaceful means.[1] This situation can be seen as an indication of the collective will in the Western world. Additionally, one of the most significant recent developments in the West is the visit from the United Kingdom to Germany.

King Charles III of England went abroad for the first time after his accession to the throne and visited Germany. The main objective of the visit, which took place on 29 March 2023, is to restart the relations that were weakened after the UK’s departure from the EU.[2]
Charles, who seeks to renew the “special bond” with Germany, delivered a speech in the Federal Parliament as part of his visit. The British King praised the historic unity between the United Kingdom and Germany in the face of Russia’s occupation of Ukraine, emphasizing that states can draw courage from their alliance to defend Ukraine, peace, and freedom. Charles stated that Germany, together with the United Kingdom, has demonstrated “vital leadership” regarding Ukraine and commended the courageous and commendable support provided by Berlin to the Ukrainian Army.[3]

The purpose of the visit and Charles’s speech in the German Federal Parliament serve as an indication of the rapprochement in the Western world or, at least, as a step taken in good faith at this point. This visit has raised expectations that it will deepen integration within Europe and strengthen the Western world. It is known that Charles has visited Germany several times before, and it is believed that this visit can have a significant impact in this regard.

It is evident that Charles’s visit will witness various geopolitical developments. Firstly, the relations between Germany and Russia will be negatively affected by the rapprochement between Berlin and London. It can be argued that the United States will continue to maintain its influence in Europe through the United Kingdom. It is known that before fully aligning with the West, the United States sought to make Poland a center of gravity on the continent. While Washington may support Warsaw, it can be said that this is not aimed at balancing Berlin.

The process of rapprochement and integration in the Western world will increase pressure on Russia and strengthen the position of Ukraine and the United States. Kiev will continue to receive military, political, and economic support from the Western world more strongly. In response, Washington will focus more on states such as Russia, which it sees as rivals in the global system, as it neutralizes actors trying to erode its influence in Europe. Additionally, the United States will be able to obtain the desired support from the EU smoothly during this process.

In conclusion, it is observed that equations and dynamics are being reshaped in Europe. As relations deepen between Berlin and London, debates within Europe will significantly decrease, and pressure on Moscow will intensify. Moreover, it can be expected that the support to the Ukrainian Army will increase. In this process, the United States will pursue a more effective and active policy. On the other hand, the possibility of Russia creating dissenting voices within the Western world weakens. However, it is debatable how long Germany, with its imperial psychology, will continue to pursue a policy under the influence of the United States. Although there is currently a rapprochement, the possibility of tensions resurfacing in future periods should not be overlooked. The key factor determining this will be the course of the Russia-Ukraine War.

[1] Bernd Debusmann Jr-George Wright-Antoinette Radford, “Germany Confirms It Will Provide Ukraine With Leopard 2 Tanks”, BBC,, (Date of Accession: 31.03.2023).

[2] Sarah Marsh, “King Charles Visits Germany in First Overseas Trip as Monarch”, Reuters,, (Date of Accession: 31.03.2023).

[3] Sarah Marsh, “King Charles Lauds Unity on Ukraine War in Bilingual Bundestag Speech”, Reuters,, (Date of Accession: 31.03.2023).

Dr. Emrah KAYA
Dr. Emrah KAYA
ANKASAM Dış Politika Uzmanı Dr. Emrah Kaya, Akdeniz Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezundur. Yüksek lisans derecesini 2014 yılında Süleyman Demirel Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nde hazırladığı “Latin Amerika'da Sol Liderlerin Yükselişi ve Uluslararası Politikaya Etkisi: Venezuela-Bolivya Örneği” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Kaya, doktora derecesini de 2022 yılında aynı üniversitede hazırladığı "Terörle Mücadelede Müzakere Yöntemi: ETA-FARC-LTTE-PKK" başlıklı teziyle elde etmiştir. İyi derecede İngilizce bilen Kaya'nın başlıca çalışma alanları; Orta Asya, Latin Amerika, terörizm ve barış süreçleridir.