Foreign policy

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    The EU’s “ever tighter union” needs informed debate, not blowing things up

The EU’s “ever tighter union” needs informed debate, not blowing things up

Supporters of a hard Brexit have cited research by Matthias Matthijs, Craig Parsons and Christina Toenshoff to make their case – but these political-economy scholars see their work pointing in other directions. Describing the EU as an “ever tighter union,” their research highlights that some constraints on member states are now stronger than those on states within the US […]

The real meaning of ‘Global Britain’: a Great Escape from the EU

What, really, is ‘Global Britain’? What do its proponents want to achieve with it and how does it differ from Britain’s previous strategies for engaging with the world? Oliver Daddow (University of Nottingham) argues that in casting the EU as a prison, the phrase marks a distinctly Eurosceptical turn in Britain’s engagement with the rest of the world.

Like all […]

Could a Northern Ireland border poll happen?

The prospect of a vote in Northern Ireland on Irish unity – a border poll, as it is often called – is more and more discussed. The Constitution Unit has published a short report by Alan Whysall (UCL Constitution Unit), which aims to set out the key issues, and stimulate discussion. Below, he outlines the main themes of the report.

The Secretary […]

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    The Brexit effect: Anti-EU right-wing forces are not taking over Europe

The Brexit effect: Anti-EU right-wing forces are not taking over Europe

It has become conventional wisdom about European politics since the double impact of the 2008/9 crash and financial crisis followed by the waves of refugees, that anti-European nationalist populist, xenophobic parties are sweeping all before them. The Brexit vote is cited as irrefutable proof along with the increased votes for parties that claim to defend the nation against immigrants […]

Why the EU-Japan trade deal matters for Brexit

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement entered into force at the start of this month, but it is unclear whether the UK can retain the benefits of the agreement after it leaves the EU. Han Dorussen writes that the UK risks being excluded from what Brexiteers want: a free trade area ‘beyond Europe’ and greater ‘global influence’.

On February 1st, the EU-Japan […]

What are the prospects for UK trade with Australia and New Zealand?

The UK would like to export more to Australia and New Zealand after Brexit. Malcolm Abbott (Swinburne University of Technology) looks at the history of trade between the three countries and the prospects for growth in the future.

How might the UK increase its trade and other economic links with parts of the world outside the Union after Brexit? Among […]

How Conservatives are reshaping overseas aid in the Brexit era

Conservatives who are sceptical about the benefits of traditional overseas aid have been trying to expand its definition. These efforts have taken on a new urgency as they promote a ‘Global Britain’ in which targeted aid boosts British trade, writes Sophia Price (Leeds Beckett University). Cutting the current aid budget would also free up money to deal with the […]

‘Global Britain’: have we lost our marbles?

Leaving the EU has inspired talk of a ‘Global Britain’ that reaches out farther to its allies. But this confidence is not shared by diplomats, many of whom dub it a rebranding exercise. In an extract from their new United Nations Association report, Jess Gifkins (University of Manchester), Samuel Jarvis (University of Southampton) and Jason Ralph (University of Leeds) warn […]

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    Britain can once again be the master of its own trading destiny

Britain can once again be the master of its own trading destiny

Wherever one stands on the question of Brexit, it undoubtedly presents opportunities, denied to Britain for almost half a century, to embrace its historic role as a global trading power. Britain can once again be the master of its own trading destiny, argues George Brandis QC (Australian High Commissioner).

A short distance from Australia House on the Strand, a commemorative plaque marks […]

The backstop is about much more than cross-border movement

The backstop is not just about trade and cross-border checks, says Niall Ó Dochartaigh (National University of Ireland, Galway). It specifically mentions North-South co-operation and the Good Friday Agreement. The British government’s proposals for ‘alternative agreements’ do not acknowledge how vital these elements are.

When people invoke the backstop in the Withdrawal Agreement, they often focus on the issue of movement of goods […]