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Brexit

On June 23rd, 2016, the citizens of the UK voted to leave the European Union. This began an unprecedented process of dissociation, commonly known as Brexit. Among the many challenges that Brexit poses is how to handle the border between Britain and the Republic of Ireland. In the recent past, the “soft” border between the two nations has allowed for the free flow of people and goods. However, if Brexit negotiations fail, a “hard” border will replace the currently soft border between the Republic and Northern Ireland. This presents a problem because under present conditions the border allows for mutually beneficial economic and social exchange, as well as having been instrumental in guaranteeing the Northern Irish peace process. This border …

Brexit, if it has to happen, could have a silver lining. It could be an opportunity to reform and refashion the European project by making good on the aspiration of an ever-closer political union, needed today more than ever before. The Need for a Stronger Union President Macron addressing the need for EU reform with deeper political integration 26 September 2017 at the Sorbonne in Paris. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/Reuters Judging from my experience in the UN climate change negotiations, the EU can be a major international player and a force for good, but only if it ceases to ‘punch below its weight’ due to a lack of political union. This is why I fully concur with the view expressed by …

When Teresa May announced her snap election last April, she not only ruined my Roman holiday, but also made me cringe about having written a blog in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum in which I had encouraged just that, namely: “Go with Dignity – Call a Snap Election!” Why? By then I had accepted the prevailing wisdom that the Conservatives would win a landslide victory, providing them with a three-figure majority in the Commons. This would have given her the popular mandate to push through Brexit in the ‘hardest’ possible form, thus nullifying any chance for a second ‘in-out’ referendum on the outcome of the Article 50 negotiations, which I had by then advocated in “The Will of …

As Britain formally triggers the doleful negotiations to exclude itself from the mainstream of European politics and economics, Prime Minister Theresa May refuses to use the word “divorce” to describe what is happening. My wife, a retired family lawyer and mediator, thinks May could be correct. After all, the family house we are exiting still contains much of our history and family silver, as well as our future economic interest. In that sense, divorce is scarcely an option. Britain has not been as insular an island as some people take it to be. From our reigning royal family (which is German) to our exports (overwhelmingly to Europe), we have helped to shape and in our turn been shaped by developments …

In the week of 13 March, two momentous events took place. Parliament passed the bill giving the government authority to notify the European Council that the United Kingdom intends to withdraw from the European Union. And First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that her government will introduce legislation for a second independence referendum for Scotland. The first occurred despite the House of Lords’ insistence on a prior guarantee of the status of EU citizens or of an up-or-down vote on the final deal (or no deal); the second was a surprise move, seemingly calculated to pre-empt a positive news cycle on the day the bill was approved. These two leaders’ approaches to Brexit so far show the difference between imposing order and control in an …

The British parliamentary system, inspired by John Locke, Edmund Burke, John Stuart Mill and many others who believed in a system of checks and balances to guarantee our liberties, has in the past been much admired as a model of liberal democracy, one that has enabled the peaceful evolution that has been an almost unique part of our history. Today it has been superseded. The doctrine of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, that the will of the people must always prevail, much admired by autocrats ever since the days of Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety, now prevails in Westminster instead. Speaker after speaker in the House of Commons debates on Article 50 declared that, although he or she voted Remain and …

of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, having been given sovereignty over whether the Kingdom leaves or remains in the European Union insist, in the interest of democracy and unity, on being given the opportunity to take an informed decision on the final outcome of the Art. 50 negotiations, as approved by parliament, through a referendum to either accept this outcome or to remain in the European Union. THE REFERENDUM PREDICAMENT A lot has been made in the press and in the recent parliamentary debates about the moral obligation for members of parliament to respect “the will of the people” as expressed in the narrow victory for leaving the European Union in the Brexit referendum of last …

Do we know more now about the likely shape of the future Brexit deal?  While Theresa May’s speech has provided some much-needed clarity on the British position, her uncompromising stance on the single market could make the deal yet more unpredictable. In the configuration sketched out today, the eventual result will depend even less on what Theresa May wants and even more on what the rest of the EU will give her. Commentators tend to argue that there are too many unknowns to figure out the positions and bottom lines of the 27.  But nevertheless, the fundamentals are arguably simple enough to be described in three short equations, each of which gives us a clue about an eventual Deal UK (Duk). Equation 1: …