Iain Begg

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    From ‘Vincolo Esterno’ to ‘Nemico Esterno’: The disturbing new demonisation of the EU

From ‘Vincolo Esterno’ to ‘Nemico Esterno’: The disturbing new demonisation of the EU

The dispute between Italy and the European Commission over the Italian budget for 2019 illustrates a shift in how member states treat the obligations of EU membership. Iain Begg and Kevin Featherstone argue that instead of using pressure from Brussels to justify difficult policy measures, countries are now picking fights with the EU to boost their domestic political standing, thereby […]

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    What if Britain rejoined the EU? Breaking up may be less hard than making up

What if Britain rejoined the EU? Breaking up may be less hard than making up

If Britain ever sought to rejoin the EU, it could not be on the terms of membership the country previously enjoyed, warns Iain Begg. The UK’s budget rebate, exemption from Schengen and opt-outs from the euro and judicial cooperation will not be on the table again. This would make rejoining a difficult sell to the British public.

A curiosity of the […]

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    A paler shade of grey? It is hard to see how any in-between version of Brexit can prevail

A paler shade of grey? It is hard to see how any in-between version of Brexit can prevail

A simple metaphor captures the dilemmas around Brexit: some want white, others want black. To state the blindingly obvious, the two are mutually exclusive. In this post, Iain Begg considers the two logically coherent positions on EU membership. It is hard to see how any in-between solution – any shade of grey – can prevail. 

Leaving the EU means, well, Brexit […]

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    Rethinking the governance of economic and monetary union: Should rules continue to rule?

Rethinking the governance of economic and monetary union: Should rules continue to rule?

Although the EU economy has returned to a period of stable growth since the Eurozone crisis, several key issues in the governance of economic and monetary union remain unresolved. Drawing on results from the Firstrun project, Iain Begg provides an overview of current concerns and outlines five recommendations to help further the debate.

The turbulent times of the last decade […]

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The Brexit-sized hole in the future EU budget

The UK is a net contributor to the EU budget. Following Brexit, the loss of UK contributions will therefore likely require either a reduction in overall spending, or for the remaining member states to pay more into the budget. Iain Begg explains the impact this shortfall might have as the EU seeks to negotiate its next Multi-annual Financial Framework.

Have you ever wondered […]

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    Expect a backlash if the £50bn offer doesn’t move the Brexit negotiations on

Expect a backlash if the £50bn offer doesn’t move the Brexit negotiations on

After threatening to pay nothing to the EU, then conceding £20bn, the UK government has finally indicated it will pay a Brexit ‘divorce bill’ of £40-50bn. The initial reaction from Eurosceptics has been rather muted, writes Iain Begg. But if the European Council does not allow exit negotiations to move to the next stage, we can expect a serious backlash […]

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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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