EU freedom of movement and Brexit

fkwiatkowski/Flickr. (CC 2.0 by-nc-nd)Sofia Vasilopoulou, lecturer in Politics at the University of York, says EU migration could be the make or break issue of the Brexit campaigns. Both sides understand this, but how will they approach the topic? This piece is part of the UCL European Institute’s first guest editor week on openDemocracy.

Britain goes to the polls on 23 June to decide whether the country will remain in the European Union (EU) or exit it. Sixty-eight polls between 3 September 2015 and 3 March 2016 have shown that there is no clear winning camp. Public opinion has been constantly fluctuating, and the number of those responding with ‘I don’t know’ has been as high as 24%. In the context of such high levels of uncertainty among the British public about their vote choice, campaign frames will be very powerful tools for influencing vote choice. Continue reading

Will a UK welfare reform ease the UK’s EU negotiation?

Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol, Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Fellow at the University of Glasgow’s Adam Smith Business School, examines the contentious EU freedom of movement rules, how they impact on the British welfare state, and UK government plans for reform. This post was first published by Bruegel.

In a speech on 22 June 2015, UK Prime Minister David Cameron pointed at a number of possible changes that could be made to the UK’s tax credit system. The UK’s tax credit system is an arrangement whereby some taxpayers (families and individuals on low income) can deduct a certain amount of money from the tax they owe to the state (although you do not have to actually pay any tax to receive the tax credit: the name is misleading). The Labour government introduced tax credits in the 1990s.

Why is the UK government suddenly thinking of reforming this system? The first immediate reason is the UK government’s official aim of cutting public spending. In an article in the Sunday Times on 21 June 2015, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith outlined a plan to reduce welfare spending by £12 billion a year. A quick look at UK welfare spending shows that tax credits (most importantly Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit) are an obvious area for attention, since cuts to state pensions have been ruled out.

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Europe and Research Excellence in the UK

Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow, University of Kent Vice Chancellor, examines the role of EU research collaboration and funding in sustaining and fostering research excellence in the UK.

The recent results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), a national review of research across all disciplines and all Universities that takes place about every 6 years, have once again demonstrated the strength of research in the UK with 30% of submissions judged to be world leading. Moreover, this time it not only took account of high quality outputs (books, journal articles, patents and so on) but also the economic, social and cultural impact that stems from high quality research.

Following a visit to the University of Ghent, one of the University of Kent’s international strategic partners, I have been reflecting on the relationship between research excellence and the European dimension to research funding and collaboration.

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