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

Post-Brexit Trade Relations: No Middle Way Between Free Trade Agreement and Internal Market

Screenshot 2018-05-16 10.22.43Piet Eeckhout and Clément Leroy examine various models for the UK-EU trade relationship after Brexit, and argue that a so-called bespoke agreement beyond existing frameworks is not available. This blog draws on Piet Eeckhout’s report Future trade relations between the EU and the UK: options after Brexit, which he is presenting to the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee on Thursday 17 May (watch here). 

The future trade relationship between the UK and the EU will affect a wide range of economic and social policies. Looking beyond what would be desirable from an economic viewpoint, one can examine the different models for this relationship that are under consideration in the context of the Brexit negotiations against the canvas of two distinct paradigms: market integration and trade liberalisation.  Continue reading

Brexit and the Future of Family Reunion Rights

Screenshot 2018-03-22 10.45.44A new draft for the withdrawal agreement published by the Brexit negotiators on 19 March presents its part on citizens’ rights, as ‘agreed at negotiators’ level’. Polly Polak explores how this would change current rights to family reunion, for EU citizens living in the UK and for UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU.

The number of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in other Member States is hard to gage, but it is generally estimated that there are approximately 3.7 million EU citizens living in the UK, and 1.3 million people born in the UK living in other EU countries. These citizens and their families will be directly affected by Brexit for the simple reason that their right to reside in their host states currently stems from EU law, and will no longer apply after Brexit. Continue reading

The Road to Transition…Paved with Good Intentions?

Rotterdam_Bulk_terminalAs British Brexit negotiators are hoping to secure an agreement on the transition period at the European Council on 22-24 March, Sionaidh Douglas-Scott explores what they should keep in mind, and discusses sticking points to prepare for.

Both the EU and UK appear to accept that a transition period (or as the UK Government prefers it – ‘implementation period’) will be necessary to effect Brexit, as it is unlikely that agreement on the UK’s future relationship with the EU will be reached and implemented before 29 March 2019. Continue reading

Theresa May’s Emerging Brexit Strategy

35027929713_1acc51f800_o-640x400On Friday 2 March, Theresa May gave a speech in which she laid out some of the “hard truths” of Brexit, but her strategy with regard to the negotiations is as unclear as ever. Benjamin Martill (LSE) argues there’s value in being intentionally vague.

Does Theresa May have a Brexit strategy? To most observers of the chaotic Brexit process, the answer would be an emphatic ‘no’. May’s administration has lurched from crisis to crisis, is riven by internal divisions between Tory MPs, and has by all accounts failed to articulate a clear and coherent position in the first round of negotiations. Internecine warfare between proponents of a hard and a soft Brexit have been reignited by concerns that May is softening her stance on Brexit. Continue reading