Alternatives to European Union Membership for the United Kingdom
Reports & Briefings
The United Kingdom has the right, under the Lisbon Treaty, to leave the European Union, as explained in Sionaidh Douglas-Scott’s paper for the Committee. Yet it remains unclear what the consequences of a vote to leave would be, given the uncertainty about the alternatives. Few of the protagonists in the debate favour isolation or protectionism and there is broad support for free trade. There are differences among supporters of ‘leave’ as to whether, and what form of, transnational institutions should be retained. Neither the main ‘leave’ campaigns nor the UK Government has yet outlined alternatives to membership. This may play to the advantage of the ‘remain’ campaign, which will be able to play on the risks and uncertainties about leaving. This was a critical factor in the Scottish independence referendum. There are several alternatives to UK membership of the European Union but choosing among them would depend on what one dislikes about the EU and what the reasons for leaving are.