From Cautious Member to Bold Leader? The Netherlands in the EU after Brexit

The UK’s decision to leave the EU has caused concern in Europe about further defections, but Lisa ten Brinke, Research Associate at the Dahrendorf Forum, argues Brexit has had the opposite effect—at least in the Netherlands.


The causes and consequences of Brexit have been analysed from many angles—from the EU’s internal struggles to the rise of populism and the end of Western hegemony. Less attention has been paid, however, to the position of member states themselves, and what their foreign policy behaviour can tell us about the impact of the UK’s departure on Europe. The Netherlands, in particular, provides an interesting case: as one of the EU’s founding member states and one of the UK’s closest allies and trading partners, the country is facing tough choices in the wake of Brexit.

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A No Deal Brexit is not the wish of the country but is now the preferred outcome for Leave voters

kevin-grieve-1470210-unsplash.jpgUta Staiger, Christina Pagel and Christabel Cooper share the results of the last UCL survey (with fieldwork conducted by YouGov), which was generously funded by UCL Maths, UCL CORU and UCL’s Grand Challenge of Cultural UnderstandingThe data shows that with No-Deal now leavers’ preferred Brexit outcome, ruling it out could create problems for the Tories. Leave voters are also relatively untroubled by the economic impact of no-deal – in fact more are now worried about the negative impact of leaving with May’s existing deal. 

This week MPs narrowly voted through the Cooper-Letwin bill, which aims to rule out the option of leaving the EU without a deal. New research from University College London shows that this may be in line with voter preferences, with the country as a whole seeing no-deal as the worst possible outcome of the Brexit process. But it also reveals the depth of divisions between voters, with those who voted Leave in 2016 strongly preferring to exit with no deal.

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Brexit and The Politics of Extending Article 50

john-cameron-1396310-unsplash.jpgKirsty Hughes questions whether the EU27 will give the UK a short or long extension of Article 50 at their upcoming emergency summit. She argues that the control of Brexit is once again more in the hands of the EU than in the ones of the UK Government or Westminster, with strict conditions to be set for any offer of extension. 

Brexit faces yet another ‘crunch’ week. The UK could tumble over a ‘no deal’ cliff edge this coming Friday, yet most assume that somehow the UK and EU will shift the deadline forward a bit more. But what decision a frustrated EU27 will take at their Brussels summit on Wednesday evening is, for now, unclear.

Groundhog day Brexit continues – the UK may yet leave with a deal (amended political declaration or not), without a deal, or stay in the EU – and when any of those outcomes will become the clear result is also uncertain.

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Worth asking: Is there an antisemitic tinge to the attacks on Speaker John Bercow?


Michael Berkowitz, Historian at UCL, questions whether the toxicity of the Brexit debate has not gone one step too far when it comes to the Speaker of the House John Bercow. With antisemitism resurging strongly in the politics in Europe, it is a question worth asking and a crucial problem to tackle. 

On 18 March 2019, Speaker of the House John Bercow caused a sensation by disallowing the scheduled vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan. The Speaker was well within his bounds. It was, above all, a matter of best practise, and a defence of (whatever is left) of the dignity of the House of Commons. And I’m also willing to cut him a little slack—as a Brother Berkowitz. His family “anglicised” its name from “Berkowitz” to “Bercow.” Other Berkowitzes opted for “Berkoff”, “Berkeley”, “Berk”, and “Beckwith”. (I’m a resolute Berkowitz Remainer.) I do not believe, however, that we are related. But I would not totally discount the possibility. I can safely say though that we Berkowitzes, especially of the grey-haired, height-challenged sort, can get a bit testy when pushed. Ironically, as Britain has been derided and embarrassed before the world for its idiocy in voting for Brexit, and its failure to handle it, one of the few saving graces has been a Speaker of the House who appears to keep things, more or less, in order.

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Its about Sovereignty, stupid – which is why we need a long extension


 Michael Grubb discusses three realities about Brexit that need to be recognised in order to move the process forward. There should be time for a wider debate about what sovereignty means which only a long extension can offer. 

So, some 33 tortuous months after the Brexit Referendum, the third rejection of May’s deal means that Parliament now has 10 days to propose a way forward. Within days, they must winnow down last week’s ‘indicative votes’ into a viable option – one which must recognize three core Realities.

The first was exposed by the Referendum itself, and ever since: the deadlock is about Sovereignty. The economic arguments pounded by ‘Remain’ simply shirk what resonates most with many Leave voters – sovereignty and control. For decades, governments of all persuasions stressed the EU as an economic venture, a big market, a Union to increase economic gains as spoils for its members to barter over. Economics dominated the Remain approach. Don’t talk about the elephant on the table.

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