Iain Begg

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    The gaffe that keeps on taking: How to break the deadlock over Britain’s EU divorce bill

The gaffe that keeps on taking: How to break the deadlock over Britain’s EU divorce bill

The size of the ‘divorce bill’ the UK will pay following its exit from the EU remains one of the key sticking points in the Brexit negotiations. Iain Begg writes that despite the apparent deadlock over the issue, it would not take much to reach a compromise. He suggests that extending the idea of an implementation phase to the […]

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Is the UK economy starting to falter?

All of a sudden Britain has become the slowest growing of the major western economies, and there are increasing concerns about its medium-term outlook. Iain Begg writes that with both government and opposition fixated on what kind of Brexit to favour, there is a growing risk that fundamental and necessary measures to underpin the economy will be neglected.

Until well after the turn […]

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Reflecting on how to run €MU more effectively

The European Commission published a reflection paper at the end of May on deepening economic and monetary union. Iain Begg assesses the strategy for reform put forward, writing that the paper is relatively guarded and does not convey an explicit trajectory for the next stages of development of EMU governance. He argues that unless and until there is a […]

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    Britain’s got bills – but will it pay? Settling the UK’s EU budget obligations

Britain’s got bills – but will it pay? Settling the UK’s EU budget obligations

Settling the UK’s financial obligations to the EU could cost up to €60bn. Iain Begg explains why the figure is so high, looks at whether there is much scope for negotiation and asks what would happen if Britain simply refused to pay. He argues that the nuclear option of leaving the EU without paying would likely poison the atmosphere around […]

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    What happened to the ‘£350m’ Britain was to take back from the EU?

What happened to the ‘£350m’ Britain was to take back from the EU?

The toxic issue of how much Britain pays into the EU budget is a long way from being settled, writes Iain Begg. None of the pro-Brexit ministers in government now claims that the figure of £350m the UK was supposedly sending to Brussels each week will be available for domestic spending. Indeed, the cost of Brexit to the public finances has […]

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    Theresa May’s timeline for Brexit: Canny tactics or Brexishambles?

Theresa May’s timeline for Brexit: Canny tactics or Brexishambles?

Theresa May has stated that the UK will trigger Article 50 before the end of March 2017. Iain Begg writes that while her speech gave some indication of timing, there is still no concrete statement on what kind of relationship the UK would actually like to negotiate with the EU. In the absence of this level of clarity he […]

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The economics of Brexit: which side should we believe?

One of the key issues in the context of the UK’s EU referendum is the effect a Brexit would have on the country’s economy. Iain Begg assesses the economic claims that have been made so far in the campaign, noting that there have been misleading figures put forward by both sides of the debate.

Two recent assessments of the economics […]

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The welfare state in Europe: still worth having?

Have the negative economic consequences brought about by the financial crisis made European welfare states unaffordable? Iain Begg writes that while there is some validity to criticisms of welfare spending, the welfare state performs a number of core functions that ensure it will continue to be around for the foreseeable future. He also notes that European welfare states have […]

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    Why both sides of the UK’s debate are misleading the public on EU budget contributions

Why both sides of the UK’s debate are misleading the public on EU budget contributions

One of the key fault lines in the UK’s debate over EU membership concerns the amount the country contributes to the EU budget. Iain Begg writes that both sides of the referendum campaign are guilty of misleading the public over the issue, with the leave side frequently quoting contributions without applying the rebate, and the remain side comparing apples […]

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    Lies, damned lies and yet more misleading statistics on Europe

Lies, damned lies and yet more misleading statistics on Europe

Statistics on the impact of EU membership are likely to be heavily contested by both campaigns during the UK’s EU referendum. Citing recent examples from Vote Leave, the Sunday Times and the Centre for Economics and Business Research, Iain Begg warns that these figures can make misleading assumptions or even be downright inaccurate.

In war, according to the ancient Greek dramatist Aeschylus, truth is […]

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Britain’s risky euro-out strategy

In his letter to Donald Tusk, David Cameron stressed the importance of Eurozone and non-Eurozone members being on an equal footing. Iain Begg argues that this request is problematic. Among the issues raised, he writes that it would be a mistake to think that the interests of the nine member states that are out of the Eurozone are closely aligned and that […]

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Deepening EU economic governance: the next steps

Earlier this year, the so called ‘Five Presidents’ report’, authored by Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Mario Draghi, and Martin Schulz, was published, outlining plans for strengthening economic and monetary union. Iain Begg writes on proposals adopted by the European Commission on 21 October to implement the recommendations in the report. He notes that the new plans show […]

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    Lies, damned lies and statistics on the UK’s EU membership

Lies, damned lies and statistics on the UK’s EU membership

How would leaving the European Union affect the UK’s economy? Iain Begg writes that with pro-EU and anti-EU campaigning groups now officially up and running ahead of the UK’s planned referendum, British voters will undoubtedly be confronted with a series of contradictory claims and counter-claims on the costs and benefits of membership. He argues that it would be unwise […]

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    Rumours of the euro’s likely demise are greatly exaggerated

Rumours of the euro’s likely demise are greatly exaggerated

To what extent do the problems illustrated by the Greek debt crisis threaten the future of the Eurozone? Iain Begg writes that while the prospects for Greece continue to be deeply uncertain, the wider reforms that have been pursued across the Eurozone since the crisis still give reason for optimism about the future of the single currency.

Since 2009, when […]

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    Push or jump? Why the UK could be facing a ‘Brexpulsion’ rather than a ‘Brexit’

Push or jump? Why the UK could be facing a ‘Brexpulsion’ rather than a ‘Brexit’

The UK’s EU referendum is likely to be heavily influenced by the extent to which David Cameron is successful in his attempt to renegotiate the country’s terms of membership. Iain Begg writes that while Cameron’s intention appears to be to gain enough from a renegotiation to win the referendum, he faces a difficult balancing act in keeping other EU […]

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    What does the Five Presidents’ report mean for the future of the euro?

What does the Five Presidents’ report mean for the future of the euro?

On 22 June the so called Five Presidents’ report, authored by Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Mario Draghi, and Martin Schulz, was published, outlining plans for strengthening economic and monetary union. Iain Begg assesses what the report means for the future of the euro. He finds that while some of the proposals are well-judged and combine ambition with […]

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    The UK’s £1.7 billion EU bill puts the country one step closer to a ‘Brexit’

The UK’s £1.7 billion EU bill puts the country one step closer to a ‘Brexit’

The UK has been asked to pay an extra £1.7 billion to the EU budget by 1 December following a reassessment of the size of the British economy. Iain Begg writes that while the issue has generated an extremely hostile reaction from David Cameron, the data correction process used to arrive at the figure is well-known to the UK […]

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Margaret Thatcher maintained a difficult relationship with Europe, but she was far from a figurehead for Euroscepticism.

The funeral of Margaret Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister, is due to be held in London today. Reassessing her impact on Britain’s relationship with Europe, Iain Begg argues that she maintained a far more nuanced position on Europe than is commonly recognised. The image of a staunchly Eurosceptic Prime Minister is at odds with her support for the single […]

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The Cypriot banking crisis shows that Europeans have yet to work out the answer to the question, ‘who pays?’

The past week has been a tumultuous one for Cyprus, with negotiations and renegotiations towards a bailout for the country’s embattled banks. While an agreement has finally been struck, Iain Begg writes that the crisis is a direct result of an over-extended banking system: something that also affects other Eurozone members. The solution, to make bank depositors pay, could undermine […]

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    It is entirely possible that Britain could leave the European Union within the next decade.

It is entirely possible that Britain could leave the European Union within the next decade.

The prospect of a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union was a recurring theme in 2012. Ahead of David Cameron’s speech on Europe, Iain Begg assessed recent developments on Britain’s future relationship with Europe. He argues that current trends are making a British exit from the EU more likely, and that even if the country maintains EU membership, […]

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