Brexit negotiations: what does Europe want?

eu flags.jpgFinally, Article 50 has been triggered. But what drives and limits negotiators on the other side of the table? Overlook the priorities and red lines of the remaining member states, and the complex institutional set up of the Union, at your peril, writes UCL European Institute Executive Director, Uta Staiger.

Theresa May, the British prime minister, has triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. That means negotiations on the UK’s departure from the European Union can begin. But this is not just about what Britain wants – the Brexit deal depends significantly on what the EU is prepared to give.

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Lord Kerr Speaks for Those Who Care about Britain in Europe

Albert Weale, Professor of Political Theory and Public Policy at UCL, discusses David Cameron’s tactics as he prepares to fight for reform of the European Union. It remains unclear what Cameron wants from the other European governments, but he risks alienating any allies through his current negotiation strategies.

Suppose you were in dispute with your bank about the way your account was being handled.  How would you deal with the matter? Would you try to identify the issues and have a rational conversation with the organisation or would you bluster, make some general accusations and threaten to close your account unless some yet to be identified changes were made? If you were sensible, you would do the first, never the second.

Transpose this situation to Britain’s relationship with the European Union. For the last five years, David Cameron has been the epitome of bluster, making general but unspecified complaints and threatening to walk out if he does not get his way. Yet no one knows what he wants even if he did get his way.

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