Scotland’s European Choices as UK Exits the EU


flags_scotland_ukAs some claim that the elections results put an end to the Brexit debate, Kirsty Hughes argues that the independence debate is not going away and re-joining the EU will be core to the discussions. 

In just two weeks, the UK will leave the EU – a huge damaging folly, irreversible in the next few years. And, as Boris Johnson predictably rejects the Scottish government’s request for a second independence referendum, the independence debate is set to intensify.

But how will the UK’s hard Brexit path impact on Scotland’s future European choices, if Scotland does sooner or later choose independence?

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How to Navigate the 2019 General Election: Views from UCL

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Brexit, tactical voting, the unity of the United Kingdom… The 12 December election is like no other in many ways. Our colleagues from across UCL offer their thoughts on how to approach the first winter poll since 1923. 

Read below our round-up of comments to prepare yourself for the upcoming vote.

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The EU’s negotiating strategy has worked so far, but it’s playing a risky game

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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.

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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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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