EU

This week, the ESRC-supported project “UK in a Changing Europe” issued a new report on the economic and political effects for the UK of a No Deal. This project uses a collection of experts in law, politics and economics drawn from across the UK. Its members were selected on merit, not on their support or otherwise for Brexit. They had written extensively about trade, migration, agriculture, EU politics etc. well before David Cameron called the referendum.
 
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Brexit is re-making the UK’s constitution under our noses.
 
The territorial constitution is particularly fragile. Pursuing Brexit, Theresa May’s government has stumbled into deep questions about devolution. The territorial politics of Brexit is a bewildering mix of ignorance, apparent disdain, confrontation, cooperation and collaboration. Rarely have the so-called devolution ‘settlements’ appeared more unsettled.
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From UK in a Changing Europe
 
Our first monthly survey shows significant uncertainty about Brexit. However, some key themes emerge:
 
Our panel put the prospect of no deal at around 50%.
 
The UK is highly likely to leave on 29 March 2019
 
A second referendum is seen as highly unlikely.
 
The October EU Council deadline is unlikely to be met.
 
The transition period will need to be extended beyond December 2020.
 
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Because of leaks coming out of the UK Government, we have known for some time what the broad lines of their negotiating offer to the EU would be. Yet the White Paper is still striking for the depth, breadth and detail about the UK’s future dependence on the European Union. It covers almost everything, from customs, to regulations in industrial and agricultural products, competition policy, regulatory institutions, security, broadcasting, justice, social and environmental protection, health insurance, research, energy, refugees, data exchange and overseas development.

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Last week the government released its fisheries white paper. While most of the fisheries and Brexit debate centres on quotas and access to waters, there is also an important devolution dimension. Brexit already has profound consequences for the UK’s devolution settlement and fisheries policy is one example of this.

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In the classic American musical, Guys and Dolls, the cast sang the praises of Nathan Detroit, the man who ran The Oldest Established Floating Crap Game in the City of New York. The game produced winners and losers with one exception: Nathan Detroit was always a winner. As long as, that is, he could keep the crap game going.

Faced with a choice between splitting her Cabinet into winners and losers, Theresa May has sought to keep the Brexit crap game going. She does this by avoiding betting on either a hard or soft Brexit.

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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.
 
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