Indyref2: A bold but unsurprising move from Nicola Sturgeon

nicola sturgeonIn a speech on 13 March, Nicola Sturgeon outlined her intention to call a second Scottish independence referendum. Paul Anderson, Canterbury Christ Church University, writes that while the announcement was not surprising given recent speculation, it was nevertheless a bold move on the part of Sturgeon. Only time will tell, however, whether she will be remembered as the First Minister who presided over the independence of Scotland or the leader who got it spectacularly wrong. Note: This article first appeared on the LSE EUROPP blog and is reposted here with permission.

Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement that she is to seek a second independence referendum to be held between autumn 2018 and spring 2019 is a bold but unsurprising move from the Scottish First Minister. She has spelled out that first she will seek the approval of the Scottish Parliament which, with a majority of pro-independence MSPs (the SNP and Greens), should prove no obstacle.

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Brexit and the EU: Germany moves on

I3692308418_a214b217fa_on Berlin, Brexit is not at the top of the agenda. EU challenges will loom large in the upcoming German elections. But Germany’s main concerns on Europe range from Russia’s behaviour to the impact of Trump, France’s presidential election, and unity, or not, amongst the EU27. Kirsty Hughes, Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe and a member of the UCL European Institute Advisory Board, discusses the impact that Germany’s competing priorities could have on the Brexit negotiations. 

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Times of Crisis, Times of Prospects: Can the EU Learn from the 1970s?

EU flagMechthild 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.

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What will the Lords do with the Article 50 bill?

Thepalace_of_westminster_london_-_feb_2007 bill authorising the Prime Minister to trigger Article 50, enabling the UK to leave the EU, has cleared the Commons. In this post Lords expert, Professor Meg Russell, Director of the UCL Constitution Unit, discusses how the second chamber is likely to treat the bill. She suggests that this illustrates important dynamics between Lords and Commons, which are often disappointingly misunderstood both in the media and inside government.

The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill is a simple two-clause measure to authorise the government to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union and thereby begin negotiations on the UK’s exit from the EU. This follows the ‘Leave’ vote in last June’s referendum, followed by the Supreme Court ruling that parliament’s authorisation was required. A previous blog considered the bill’s likely reception in the Commons, where it completed its initial stages on 8 February. Today the bill begins its consideration in the Lords, where it is due a two-day second reading debate, followed by two-day committee stage next week, and a day spent on remaining stages the week after that.

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The process of Brexit: what comes next?

wp2_arenwick_front_coverIn a new report published jointly by the UCL Constitution Unit and the UCL European Institute, Alan Renwick,  Deputy Director of the Constitution Unit, examines what the process of Brexit is likely to look like over the coming weeks, months, and years. Here he summarises five key lessons.

The phoney war around Brexit is almost over. For months, two immediate questions have dominated discussions: How can Article 50 be triggered? And what sort of deal will ministers seek? The Supreme Court’s ruling on 24 January answered the first question. We know much more now about the second through Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech and last Thursday’s white paper. The Article 50 bill is being debate in parliament. By the end of March – if the government gets its way – we will be entering a new phase in the process.

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