On 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 →
A recently published report from The UK in a Changing Europe examines various aspects of Brexit and public opinion. Here, Anand Menon, Director, and Alan Wager, researcher at The UK in a Changing Europe reflect on some of the report’s key findings. They argue that Brexit has had the effect of deeply embedding tribal politics, based on social identity, into British political life, and that it is difficult to envision this changing any time soon. This article was originally featured on The UK in a Changing Europe site and is reposted with permission.
It’s common to hear that Brexit has changed everything. And as with all such clichés, there is both an element of exaggeration and an element of truth to the claim. The decision of British voters to leave the European Union has had a fundamental effect in both revealing and deepening existing cleavages in British public opinion, and opening up new ones.
In a new EI Working Paper titled ‘Brexit and the Re-Making of British Foreign Policy’, Nicholas Wright analyses the challenges Brexit will pose to British foreign policy-makers and institutions, the future of UK-EU relations, and the impact of Brexit on UK engagement with the multilateral system. The paper also shows how the UK government can mitigate the risk of a significant loss of international influence. In this blog entry, Dr Wright highlights the key findings of the paper.
Since the end of the Second World War, the UK has been a multilateral power par excellence, directly contributing to the construction and expansion of many of the most important institutions of international governance, and championing a rules-based international system. In the 2015 National Security Strategy, for example, the maintenance of this system was identified as a core British national interest, contributing to the UK’s capacity to ‘punch above its weight’ in international affairs.
However, although Brexit entails the UK’s departure from a major component of this system, the consequences for British foreign policy remain under-examined in public debates. A number of challenges need to be addressed.
Taking a macroeconomic perspective, Paul Welfens reflects what the findings of his book ‘An Accidental Brexit’ mean in light of new developments in the Brexit negotiations. He argues that if the true economic consequences had been known, the referendum would have turned out differently and shows the potential pitfalls of the ‘Global Britain’ approach to international trade.
The joint statement by PM May and President of the European Commission Juncker on 8 December declared: there is a basic agreement on the ‘Exit Treaty’, including a UK payment of £35 to £39 billion and the British promise to avoid a hard border regime in Northern Ireland. Hence, Stage II of the negotiations can start in the near future. An exit treaty opens up options to avoid a No-Deal Brexit which would bring a net welfare loss of approximately 16% of UK real income as estimated by the European Institute for International Economic Relations (Discussion Paper 234).
Environmental standards and accountability in the UK are profoundly shaped by EU legislation and policy, even the very softest of Brexits will expose gaps in the UK’s governance framework. Maria Lee, Professor of Law and co-director of the UCL Centre for Law and Environment, argues that new mechanisms are required to ensure accountability and protection of the environment in the UK after Brexit.
For four decades, EU legislation and policy has profoundly shaped the protection of the UK environment. It’s hard to predict exactly what Brexit will mean for Britain’s beaches, air pollution, recycling standards or wildlife conservation – but there is no doubt it will be significant. Continue reading →