Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: The EU

Getting ahead of ourselves

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It’s a mark of the quality of the public Brexit debate that the title of this post could refer to pretty much any aspect of the negotiations to date: the mixture of ignorance, indifference and confusion has produced more than its fair share of mistimings and incorrect sequencings. But today I’d like indulge in my […]

Brexit and EU Harmonised Standards – an Introduction

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As it stands, the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 (as a consequence of invoking Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union on 29 March 2017 by the UK government), when the period for negotiating a withdrawal agreement will end unless an extension is agreed. The so-called “Great Repeal Bill” (which […]

Frictionless trade is not the same as free trade

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Many people, including politicians and journalists, don’t understand the difference between ‘free trade’ and ‘frictionless trade’. This has caused a huge misunderstanding across the country, leading to the mess we are now in. In summary, ‘free trade’ means that goods (sometimes only some goods) can be exported and imported between countries without tariffs – hence […]

Labour’s fantasy Brexit

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On BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, claimed that Britain could be in the EU Customs Union and still be free to negotiate its own trade agreements with other countries around the world. This goes against the founding principles of the EU and everything that EU leaders have been saying […]

Which is more democratic: UK or EU?

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The European Union consists of 28 member states. All treaty changes or enlargement of the EU require the unanimous consent of every single member, however large or small. The Union of the United Kingdom consists of four member states: England, Scotland, Wales and the province of Northern Ireland. In the referendum, two of them voted […]

The pros and cons of a longer transition

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So, no breakthrough, but also no collapse. Not the most ringing endorsement for yesterday’s European Council discussion on Article 50, but given the possible alternatives, certainly not the worst it could have been. Still the focus remains on the backstop for Ireland. Usefully, we might remember that this backstop has become an issue for two, […]

Merkel, Coalition Politics and Negotiating the Common European Asylum System: Constrained by Domestic Actors?

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This article is based on research presented at the UACES Graduate Forum Conference 2018 (12-13 July, KU Leuven, Belgium) In parliamentary democracies the cabinet makes policy decisions. When a cabinet is formed around a coalition of parties, the responsibility for decision-making is shared. However, coalition parties remain politically independent actors, resulting in competition and disagreements over […]

True Tories are Remainers

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Arron Banks, the insurance tycoon and Brexit campaigner who bankrolled both UKIP and Leave.eu, has launched a vitriolic campaign to deselect Remain-supporting Tory MPs who represent ‘Leave’ constituencies. Mr Banks, whose application to join the Conservatives was rejected, said the aim and slogan of his campaign, called ‘The Blue Wave UK’, is to: ‘Make the Conservatives […]

Britons to lose ‘free movement’ across Europe

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Prime Minister Theresa May has unveiled the first details of Britain’s new tough Brexit immigration system, claiming that it will bring to an end free movement of people “once and for all”. But this new ‘system’ will considerably hurt Britons and UK businesses. The Prime Minister declared: “Two years ago, the British public voted to […]

No-deal Brexit threatens food supplies

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The government has drafted in a minister to oversee the protection of UK food supplies following rising fears about the impact of a no-deal Brexit. Tory MP David Rutley, a former Asda and PepsiCo executive, was appointed to the post of Food Supplies Minister on 3 September, but the appointment was only announced at the […]

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