What now for Brexit after the German election?

wahlzettel.jpgThe German elections on 24 September 2017 have reshuffled the balance of power among parliamentary factions. To form a new government, complex coalition talks will be held in the coming months. John Ryan, Fellow at LSE Ideas, reflects on the impact these will have on Germany’s stance in the Brexit negotiations.

The result of the German election means that there will be coalition talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats CDU/CSU and the Free Democratic (FDP) and the Green party. Those talks are likely to last until December 2017. This means that Germany may have a new coalition government in January 2018. This makes the political climate in which any Brexit negotiations are taking place more uncertain. Continue reading

Why May is right – and therefore wrong

mayAnalysing Theresa May’s Florence speech, Albert Weale, Emeritus Professor of Political Theory and Public Policy at UCL, points to a series of contradictions in May’s line of argument, in what was otherwise a cogent and well crafted speech.

Theresa May was absolutely right when she spoke in Florence on 22 September. Lucidly outlining the challenges of mass migration, terrorism, global climate change, the growth of protectionism and the dangers of nuclear proliferation, she concluded that the ‘only way for us to respond to this vast array of challenges is for likeminded nations and peoples to come together and defend the international order that we have worked so hard to create – and the values of liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law by which we stand.’

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Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit (II): reflections on the first weekend

Tcitizens-assembly-on-brexithe Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit has recently begun its work. The project’s director, Alan Renwick, Deputy Director of the UCL Constitution Unit, here offers some initial, personal reflections on a highly successful first weekend.



The Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit has just completed its first weekend of deliberations. As an earlier post explained, the Assembly is a gathering of people from across the UK who have been randomly selected to reflect the make-up of the electorate. They are meeting over two weekends to learn about options for the form Brexit should take – focusing on the issues of trade and immigration – discuss what they make of these options, and draw conclusions. Their proposals will be written up in a report and delivered to policy-makers in parliament and government.

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The Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit (I): design and purpose

citizens-assembly-on-brexit.jpgThe UCL Constitution Unit is leading a team running a Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit, which will meet over two weekends, starting with the weekend of 8–10 September. The Assembly will consist of around 45 UK citizens, selected to reflect the diversity of the UK electorate. Alan Renwick and Rebecca McKee explain how the Assembly will work and what it is hoped will be achieved.

The Constitution Unit is leading a team of academics and democracy practitioners who will run a Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit over the coming weeks. As the name suggests, a citizens’ assembly is a group of citizens who are chosen to reflect the diversity of the population at large and who gather to learn about, discuss, and draw conclusions on some aspect of public policy. The Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit provides an opportunity to shed light both on public priorities for Brexit and on the value of deliberative exercises in a polarised political context.

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Acquired rights and the ECJ

35512380606_f3aac90714_o.jpgIn the second blog post of the series on Brexit and the ECJ, Piet Eeckhout, Dean of UCL Laws and Academic Director of the UCL European Institute, discusses citizens’ acquired rights and ECJ jurisdiction post-Brexit. Assessing the EU’s position on the issue, he argues that, although rather extravagant at first glance, it is not as unreasonable as it may seem.

In the Brexit negotiations the EU insists on continued ECJ jurisdiction over the provisions of the withdrawal agreement concerning so-called acquired rights: the rights to free movement and non-discrimination (and many other rights) of EU citizens who at present live in the UK, and UK citizens living in the EU.  It’s a negotiating position which at first sight looks pretty extravagant.  By the time the withdrawal agreement enters into force the UK will have left the EU and its institutions, including the ECJ.  The proposal would presumably mean that, in matters of acquired rights, UK courts would continue to make references to the ECJ; and that the full force of EU law and of the Court’s rulings would continue to apply in these matters.  As has been noted this would be wholly unprecedented: no non-member state subjects itself to this kind of “direct” jurisdiction (though as I pointed out in my previous post on the ECJ and Brexit it is preferable to speak of an indirect jurisdiction).  The UK government rejects the proposal, pointing out that the UK courts are perfectly capable of enforcing these acquired rights.  What are we to make of these positions?

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