Migration, border security and the EU referendum

The Leave caBrexit-migrationmpaign argues Brexit would give Britain back its control over immigration. Even if that were true, the current situation suggests control best comes through cooperation, says Conservative MP Damian Green. This piece is part of the UCL European Institute’s commissioning partnership with openDemocracy.

Migration is one of the most emotive topics in the debate on Britain’s membership of the European Union. For those who favour leaving, the UK’s membership has become synonymous with uncontrolled migration. They believe that only by leaving the EU would the UK be able to restore control over its borders and reduce migration. As a result immigration is assumed to be one of the stronger cards held by the Leave camp. I think their analysis is simplistic and wrong, and that the weight of the argument for those worried about levels of immigration is in favour of remaining in the EU and using it to increase our ability to cope with immigration. Continue reading

Whose dossier is dodgy? Four major errors in Vote Leave’s response

Earlier this week, the UK Government published ‘The process from withdrawing from the European Union’, which aimed to set out what would happen in the case of Brexit. Vote Leave, a cross-party organisation campaigning for Britain to leave the EU, has published a response to this document. In this post, Piet Eeckhout, Professor of EU Law at UCL, highlights four major errors in Vote Leave’s response, and explains the reasons why.

For more on how campaigns for referendums affect public opinion, register for the UCL European Institute’s special event Brexit Divisions on 8 March.

  1. Article 50 Treaty on European Union as the only lawful route to withdraw.

Vote Leave points to the withdrawals of Greenland (which was a partial withdrawal, as Greenland was never a member state), and of Algeria (idem). Those withdrawals took place at a time when the EU Treaties did not have any provisions on withdrawal. These are not precedents, because since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon (2009), there is now an express provision on withdrawal, which regulates the process in substantial detail. The position under EU law is most clear: it is Article 50 which comprehensively governs any withdrawal, and which bars any other routes to withdrawal. There is no doubt in my mind that other EU governments, the EU institutions, and the EU Court of Justice would adopt that position. Continue reading