If Theresa May is hoping an increased Commons majority will aid the Brexit negotiations, she is likely to be disappointed, argues Benjamin Martill, Research Associate at the UCL European Institute.
Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election at a time when her party is riding high in the polls has been widely seen as an opportunity for her to dramatically increase her majority in the House of Commons from a slim 12 seats to potentially triple figures.
Piet Eeckhout, Professor of EU Law and Deputy Dean, UCL Laws, and Academic Director UCL European Institute, adopts a constitutional law perspective to argue that there are numerous ways in which the two-year Article 50 clock could be stopped or extended. Not only could the decision to withdraw be revoked by the UK, but both the UK and European Parliament could ask for the negotiations to be extended. Crucially, EU constitutional law requires an orderly transition.
The deed has been done, the letter delivered. All over media screens the two-year clock started ticking, registering to the level of seconds the time left for Britain’s EU membership. The point of Brexit, when by virtue of Article 50 the Treaties cease to apply, can be determined with atomic precision, so it seems.
Following the triggering of Article 50, the honeymoon period is over for Theresa May. Oliver Patel, Research Coordinator at the UCL European Institute, outlines the main challenges which the UK faces in the upcoming negotiations. He argues that securing a deal within the two period will be hard enough. Securing a deal which pleases everyone – or anyone at all – will be virtually impossible.
Theresa May has had an easy ride so far. Up until now, she has only had to worry about pleasing her core domestic audiences. Now that Article 50 has been triggered, however, reality will start to bite. The two-year road to Brexit is fraught with uncertainty, obstacles and challenges. Two stand out above all else. First, given the complexity of the task, two years is an extremely short length of time in which to negotiate and finalise the UK’s withdrawal. Second, getting a deal which satisfies everyone – the British public, the EU and its 27 member states – will be virtually impossible. Theresa May needs to negotiate with 27 other countries, each with their own interests and priorities, who arguably have the upper hand in the talks. Her task is an unenviable one.
Finally, Article 50 has been triggered. But what drives and limits negotiators on the other side of the table? Overlook the priorities and red lines of the remaining member states, and the complex institutional set up of the Union, at your peril, writes UCL European Institute Executive Director, Uta Staiger.
Theresa May, the British prime minister, has triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. That means negotiations on the UK’s departure from the European Union can begin. But this is not just about what Britain wants – the Brexit deal depends significantly on what the EU is prepared to give.
Sir Peter Scott, Emeritus Professor of Higher Educational Studies at the UCL Institute of Education, outlines the implications which Brexit will have for UK universities. Although noting that much is uncertain, he outlines four areas in which negative impact is identifiable: student exchanges (largely through the Erasmus programme), the recruitment of students from other EU countries, the employment of academic and research staff from the rest of the EU, and research grants and income from EU programmes. He argues that Brexit could undermine both the financial sustainability of UK univerisities, as well as the overall quality of their scholarship.
Some of the implications for higher education of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union can already be identified. Others are more difficult to identify, but may be even more important. This means that the long-term consequences for UK universities, colleges, and research establishments of the decision to ‘leave’ will be a slow-burn affair.