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The Irish border has proved to be one of the most intractable aspects of Brexit, says Michael Keating, and the proposals put forward by the UK Government show little signs of being endorsed by Dublin or, as a result, Brussels. 
 
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Richard Parry discusses the attempts to express political objectives in secure legal wording as Brexit progresses
 
On 20 December 2017 the  EU Commission set out its draft supplementary negotiating guidelines for the next phase of the Brexit negotiations, during which the arrangements for UK withdrawal on 29 March 2019 will be finalised and the course set for the end-state of relations following the transition period. The European Council’s final guidelines adopted on 29 January 2018 are very similar, and usually word for word.
 
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The post-Hogmanay atmosphere is always sobering, and never more than this year when the party may be over for some many people in so many ways. During 2017, three great political experiments - Brexit, the Trump Presidency and the Catalonian independence project - failed to progress beyond the damage limitation stage into the payoffs their proponents expected. In Scotland, the snap UK election was a piece of bad luck for the SNP and accelerated the comeback of Scottish Conservatives and Labour.
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The first stage deal reached between the UK and the EU27 is an important staging post, says Kirsty Huges, but any suggestions that this opens the path to an easy future relationship are wide of the mark. 
 
The UK-EU27 deal on EU citizens’ rights, the divorce bill and Northern Ireland’s border will unlock the second stage of Brexit talks at next week’s European Council summit in Brussels.  The summit is expected to issue guidelines on a transition period while the crucial trade guidelines will come later perhaps in February or March.
 
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The current compromise on the border issue between Northern Ireland and the Republic relies on a subsequent technocratic fix, which, says Michael Keating,  provides ample material for arguments in the course of the next round of negotiations. 
 
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Richard Parry reflects on the first-stage agreement between the UK and EU that defuses political of tension but has little comfort for the proponents of Brexit and leaves all to play for in the territorial politics of Britain and Ireland. 
 
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The fundamental issue with Clause 11 of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which allows the UK parliament and government to retain competence in areas of devolved responsibility, is one of trust, says Nicola McEwen. 
 
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  • 18th May 2018

    Different political actors have responded to the decision by the Scottish Parliament to withhold its consent for the UK Government’s showpiece EU (Withdrawal) Bill in very different ways. Prof Nicola McEwen sifts the facts from the hyperbole and explains where we are and where we go from here.

  • 15th May 2018

    On 8 May the UK’s House of Lords passed an amendment to require the House of Commons to vote on remaining in the European Economic Area (EEA), the possibility of Britain adopting the so-called ‘Norway model’ is back on the agenda of British politics. Here the authors of Squaring the Circle on Brexit: Could the Norway Model Work?, John Erik Fossum and Hans Petter Graver, give some background to Norway’s relationship with the European Union and reveal the truth behind some common myths about the Norway model.

  • 4th May 2018

    The Sewel Convention has historically worked well, says Michael Keating, but Brexit will put it to the test.

  • 3rd May 2018

    Amendments to controversial Clause 11 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill were agreed in the House of Lords yesterday evening, following a deal between the UK and Welsh governments last week. Jack Sheldon and Mike Kenny explain the significance of this agreement for the UK as a whole and outline a number of unresolved issues it raises.

  • 2nd May 2018

    The hesitant progress of Brexit legislation through Westminster has provided parliament with an opportunity to show its teeth and, says Tobias Lock, it demonstrates that the legislature has bite as well as bark.

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