EU Referendum Voting Guide: Vote Leave on international influence

20 May 2016
What was claimed

We will retake our seats on international bodies. […] We will have more international influence and use it to encourage more friendly international cooperation.

Our verdict

The UK already sits on many international bodies individually, as do representatives of the EU as a whole.

The picture of the UK and EU’s international roles is much more mixed than either Stronger In or Vote Leave suggest in these leaflets.

A recent report by Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee mentions NATO, the UN Security Council, the Commonwealth, the G8 group, the G20 group, the OECD, the Council of Europe and the World Trade Organisation as examples of key international bodies.

The UK is an individual member of all these organisations. But the EU is also represented, in one way or another, at many of them.

Its role varies. At the World Trade Organisation, the European Commission “speaks for all EU member States at almost all WTO meetings”, meaning the UK doesn’t represent itself independently.

The EU “participates as an equal” at the G8, according to the American Council on Foreign Relations think tank. That’s not the case at the OECD, where it doesn’t have voting rights, but the OECD says that “the European Commission’s participation goes well beyond that of an observer”.


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