In 2013 David Cameron committed a future Conservative government to an In/Out referendum on membership of the EU. Now, after Conservative victory in the General Election, the major campaign groups for both sides of the argument are starting to push their case. Below are our ten most popular articles on the topic during 2015. The debate is only going to intensify in the upcoming months, and so LSE has launched a dedicated blog, BrexitVote, which will provide multi-disciplinary, evidence-based analysis of all the new developments.
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 to take any of these claims at face value and that the best any researcher can hope to produce is a range of projections, hedged with health-warnings about the reliability of the estimates or the accuracy of the scenario depicted.
How effective would a referendum on Britain’s EU membership be at settling the issue long-term? Andrew Glencross writes that regardless of the outcome of the referendum, it is likely that the question of Europe would remain centre stage in British politics.
3. Five minutes with Catherine de Vries: “The left is now split over whether they simply oppose the EU’s policies or oppose what the EU stands for overall”
How has opposition to the European Union changed in light of the Greek debt crisis, the UK’s planned referendum on EU membership, and the migration crisis in the Mediterranean? In an interview with EUROPP’s editor Stuart Brown, Catherine de Vries discusses the impact the UK’s referendum might have on the continent, the nature of left-wing Euroscepticism, and why immigration remains the most important issue for David Cameron in his efforts to reach a deal on EU reform.
Britain has long been seen as the European Union’s “awkward partner”. Yet why have we only now come to a referendum on Britain’s membership? Ben Wellings explains why it is impossible to understand the politics of EU-UK relations without understanding the politics of nationalism within the UK.
Last week’s election of a Conservative majority government paves the way for a referendum on Britain’s future in the European Union. Anthony Salamone outlines some of the challenges ahead for the upcoming renegotiation and referendum.
The UK electorate will vote on whether to exit the EU in a referendum before the end of 2017. Costas Milas writes that it is important that for David Cameron and the government to monitor closely whether ‘Brexit’ talk continues to receive, in coming months, the attention of the EU public. This will help form a set of realistic demands while also ensuring that expectations at home remain well-anchored.
How does knowledge about the EU vary between citizens of EU Member States? Using data from Eurobarometer surveys, Simon Hix writes that respondents from the UK perform worse than citizens from any other state when asked factual questions about the EU. However, he notes that while there is a perception that providing more information about the EU to UK citizens would increase support for the country’s EU membership, there is little evidence for this in the survey data, with those displaying high levels of knowledge being just as likely to hold negative views about the EU.
This week saw the Prime Minister make a speech on Europe, followed by a letter to the President of the European Council outlining his proposals for EU reform. In light of these events, Jo Murkens explains how in trying to appease Eurosceptics but avoid being brushed off in Brussels, Cameron’s renegotiation strategy marginalises the UK and weakens the EU.
What impact would Britain leaving the EU have on UK immigration policy? Jonathan Portes writes that exiting the EU would not be a magic solution to immigration problems. For a start, the UK would have to accept an exit from the single market and make alternative plans. He argues that difficult policy questions would still remain, as recent data debunk the myth of unskilled migrants flocking to the UK from other EU member states. Furthermore, less migrants from the EU might ‘make room’ for migrants and refugees from non-EU countries.
With a referendum on EU membership slated to happen before 2017, a group of academic historians calling themselves ‘Historians for Britain’ have joined together to make the ‘Out’ case. It is an attempt to give an intellectual justification to some anti-EU stances in British politics, writes Andrea Mammone, and is another fashion to spread a right-wing manifesto.
(Featured image credit: Kaylan Neelamjaru CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)