In a report published last week, Oliver Patel assesses the EU’s institutional and strategic approach to the Brexit negotiations, and considers what the EU wants from the process. Here, he summarises the core points of the paper and outlines how the UK has been outflanked by the EU’s negotiating tactics thus far.
October’s European Council summit represented ‘more of the same’ for the Brexit process. Although EU leaders were more cordial than in Salzburg, their fundamental position hasn’t changed: there must be some form of backstop which ties Northern Ireland to the Customs Union and Internal Market for goods, and it can’t be time-limited. Without this, there will be no withdrawal agreement. The ball is now in the UK’s court, they say.
According 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.
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
Filipa Figueira, Teaching Fellow at UCL’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies, unpacks the politics and the emotional potential of the EU budget, and why Brexit might be good news in this regard.
Every seven years, the EU braces itself for a strange recurring phenomenon: Its comparatively small budget (only 1% of GNI; insignificant when compared to national governments’ budgets) becomes the focus of rapt attention from the media, politicians and unnerved citizens across the Union. Somehow the fact that this is not in fact a large amount of money in view of the size of the institutions it represents becomes lost in the picture, as politicians from different countries fight to get as much out of the limited pot as possible.
Mechthild Herzog, University of Luxembourg, draws comparisons between the socioeconomic situation the EU faced in the 1970s with that of today. Both periods followed extreme economic crises and were defined by rapid technological transformation. Looking to the past as a guide, Herzog argues that there is a potential for today’s socioeconomic crisis to actually lead to the strengthening of social and employment rights for EU citizens.
The European Union, which the UK voted to leave on 23 June 2016, is in some respects quite similar to the one the UK joined 43 years earlier: then and now, the member states face(d) a number of comparable issues in the area of social policy and employment. Following the famous quote dedicated to Mark Twain that history does not repeat itself, but it rhymes, this post dares to draw parallels, and to show what the EU and its institutions might learn from a time not so very long ago.