Exit negotiations

How Parliament’s campaign of attrition forced the government to open up about Brexit

The real battle over Brexit has not been about whether Parliament will get a final vote, writes Ben Worthy (Birkbeck University of London). The true fight is about information – about what kind of Brexit the government wants, and what its impact is likely to be. In this, Parliament has been rather successful. Pressure from select committees and Labour’s deployment of an arcane […]

Brexit, the four freedoms and the indivisibility dogma

The EU’s position in the Brexit negotiations is based on the premise that the four freedoms of the single market – goods, capital, services, and labour – are indivisible. Wilhelm Kohler and Gernot Müller (University of Tübingen) argue that this indivisibility claim has no economic foundations, and that negotiating on this premise risks unnecessary harm. Reintroducing trade barriers will inflict damage on both […]

LSE Continental Breakfast 5: Britain’s financial obligations to the EU

How much does Britain owe the EU? What are its legal obligations? Is the European Commission right to demand that the vexed issue of Britain’s ‘divorce bill’ is settled before trade talks can begin? Britain’s financial obligations to the EU were the subject of the fifth Continental Breakfast discussion at the LSE – held under Chatham House rules, so […]

Keeping people in the dark about the consequences of Brexit is poor diplomacy

Agreement in Brussels continues to elude the British. Michael Reynolds (University of Plymouth) looks at the history of European diplomacy. The 17th-century statesman Richelieu shunned domestic politics in favour of a diplomacy that put national interests first. This prized certainty in negotiations, and informed the public of the consequences of policy. Little of his approach seems to be shared […]

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    ‘You’ll hate it’: why the Norway option amounts to self-inflicted subservience to the EU

‘You’ll hate it’: why the Norway option amounts to self-inflicted subservience to the EU

Why did David Cameron decline ‘the Norway option’, and why did the Norwegian prime minister warn Britain against Brexit, saying ‘You’ll hate it’? Erik O Eriksen (University of Oslo) argues that for the UK, the so-called Norway option of EEA membership would amount to self-inflicted subservience to the EU. Norwegians have traded any say in EU rules for all-important access to the Single […]

Article 50 does allow Britain to negotiate a transitional period

The PM intends to negotiate a transitional period after March 2019, during which people, businesses and services would have time to adapt to Brexit while the current regulatory framework is maintained. But it is still unclear how Britain will do this. Federico Ortino and Holger Hestermeyer (King’s College London) argue that Article 50 allows the UK to postpone the beginning of the withdrawal […]

‘Swallow the lot, and swallow it now’: Britain is, and was, deluded about its negotiating power with the EU

Britain is making the same mistake about the EU now as Harold Macmillan did about the European Community in the 1960s, writes Piers Ludlow (LSE). Personal appeals to Général de Gaulle proved fruitless. The EU27 are unbending – not because they bear ill-will towards the British for voting to leave, but because the nature of the EU demands internal […]

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    The internal contradictions of the Brexit project are unbridgeable

The internal contradictions of the Brexit project are unbridgeable

In his recent testimony to the House of Lords, Sir Ivan Rogers criticised as premature and ill-prepared the Prime Minister’s triggering last March of Article 50. This is unfair to Theresa May. No different date for the beginning of the Brexit negotiations could or would have rendered them any less painful for the British participants. No amount of extra […]

Although Britain won’t rejoin EFTA, it can learn a great deal from its experience

Although Theresa May wants a bespoke deal with the EU that will be outside the European Free Trade Association, EFTA’s own relationship with the Union is instructive, write Sieglinde Gstöhl (College of Europe) and Christian Frommelt (Liechtenstein Institute). It sheds light on the challenges of an ‘arm’s-length’ relationship with the EU, in particular for trade policy.

In her Florence speech in September, Theresa […]

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    The language of ‘flexible and imaginative’ solutions is unique to the Irish dimension of Brexit

The language of ‘flexible and imaginative’ solutions is unique to the Irish dimension of Brexit

The language of ‘flexible and imaginative’ solutions is unique to the Irish dimension of Brexit, writes David Phinnemore (Queen’s University Belfast). Furthermore, he argues that at the heart of the commitment of all parties involved in the exit negotiations is the desire to ensure that Brexit does not in any way undermine the Northern Ireland peace process. He outlines what a range of […]