Sustainability: the invisible common ground between the Italian problem and reforms in Europe

italy hot spotAccording to Marc Brightman, the problems of migration and economic stagnation, often referenced as the causes of the votes for Brexit or populist parties in Italy, should be treated together as part of a single problem of sustainability. An opportunity exists to exploit the rather consensual ground of environmental economics and ecological economics in European negotiations to agree on reforms for Italy and the other member states.

The formation of a populist government in Italy is causing disarray among policymakers and policy advisors working in a framework that has not assimilated advances in interdisciplinary sustainability science.

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Lords Brexit defeats are forcing MPs to face crucial choices

house of lordsOne part of the government’s flagship Brexit legislation is now nearing its parliamentary endpoint after the EU (Withdrawal) Bill completed its report stage in the House of Lords in early May. The UK parliament’s second chamber inflicted 15 government defeats on the bill, which sets out arrangements to facilitate Brexit. It will soon return to the House of Commons for these various issues to be considered. Meg Russell examines some of the issues this may cause for the House of Commons and parliament as a whole.

The Lords’ interventions have led some to claim that this is a “peers versus the people power grab”, or even that the chamber is behaving in an “unconstitutional” manner. But while the current situation may be unusual, it’s not for the reasons many commentators claim.

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Brexit Endgame: Uncertainty Mounts in Face of Deep Tory Divides


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What, if anything, could still derail the Brexit process in the coming months? Kirsty Hughes thinks the biggest political crisis might be yet to come as the negotiations unfold. Particular stumbling blocks include Northern Ireland and the future customs arrangements.

With just six months to go to finalise the Brexit withdrawal agreement, the watchword most frequently heard around Whitehall and Westminster is ‘uncertainty’. The cabinet are at daggers drawn over the future customs relationship with the EU – a row that pays little attention to what the EU might agree to. And there is no visible progress on the backstop that would allow Northern Ireland to keep the border open whatever the future relationship. Continue reading

Decision time coming for Ireland on further European integration

Screenshot 2018-02-09 09.51.52The EU has been loyal and supportive of Ireland throughout the Brexit process, but nothing in politics free. Ronan McCrea argues that the time will soon come for Ireland to decide where it stands on future European intregration, and to forge new alliances to protect and advance its interests, especially with regards to taxation and the eurozone.

The utter mess of the Brexit process has confirmed the correctness of the Irish Government’s decision to emphasise our status as a loyal EU member. The difference between the EU’s concern to defend Irish interests in the negotiation process and the dismissive attitude towards Norther Ireland’s interests by the UK government could hardly be starker.

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Taking back control? The impact of Brexit on the immigration of third country nationals and asylum seekers

8931595340_478ef13163_o.jpgNatascha Zaun, Assistant Professor at LSE, reflects upon the situation for third country nationals, especially asylum seekers, wishing to come to the UK whilst it is part of the EU. Focusing on policies such as the Dublin Regulation, she asks how the situation could change after Brexit, and argues that the UK has more control over third country migration than Brexit campaigners imply. 

The Brexit campaign, and especially UKIP’s breaking point poster, suggested that the European Union did not control the immigration of third country nationals (i.e. non-EU citizens) and that this resulted in uncontrolled immigration into the UK. According to Eurosceptics, voting for Brexit would hence help the UK ‘take back control’, not only of the migration of EU citizens, but of third country nationals as well.

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