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Category Archives: Current Affairs

Onwards, certainly. Upwards?

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Among the more minor consequences of Brexit has been the opportunity for me to give evidence to Parliament. In the case of talking with the Commons Committee on the Future Relationship with the EU (formerly the Exiting the EU Committee), that has always been a very constructive and engaging experience. Which makes it all the […]

The TCA as an entanglement

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The central narrative of the Leave case in the Brexit period as that of ‘taking back control’. By withdrawing from the European Union, the UK would liberate itself from the confines and strictures of What Other People Want, and instead become a free agent on the global stage. While this has been an effective rhetorical […]

Mapping the next period of Brexit

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The conclusion of the EU-UK Trade & Cooperation Agreement (TCA) over Christmas meant that the end of the transition period a few days later saw the start of a new phase of the relationship between the two parties. Since there are many others who are much better placed to analyse the contents of the TCA […]

Another day, another deadline

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Today’s a special day, for several reasons. Most importantly, it’s the launch of our new Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in the Centre for Britain and Europe, with many excellent speakers (and me). You can follow the discussion on Twitter on #SurreyBritainEurope and by following our account. But it’s also important as the deadline for […]

Gaps to a new deal

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The eerie quiet of negotiators, um, negotiating means we’ve seen very little of the Future Relationship process of late: everyone’s too busy trying to work up texts and compromises to brief outsiders. Which makes it a good time to consider an aspect of the ratification problem that’s not been much seen so far: what happens […]

It’s all just words

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Lots of people have lots of problems with the Maastricht Treaty, and I’m not one to change that. Instead I’ll throw another issue onto the pile: its lopsidedness. If you’ve read the text – and really, you should have – you’ll notice that there’s a huge difference between the sections relating to the first pillar […]

Same old, same old

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I find I’m not writing all that much these days about Brexit, either on blogs or on Twitter. It’s not because there’s nothing happening, but rather that all the stuff isn’t amounting to much. Let me give you an example. On my daily walk today, I remembered I’d producing something a while back about why […]

Sauce for the goose?

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Yesterday saw Michael Gove and David Frost, the UK leads for the current negotiations with the EU, give evidence to Parliamentary committees. They were very upbeat about it all, pointing to the increasing chances of a deal and sounding conciliatory about compromises on state aid, even as they acknowledged the continuing problems elsewhere. I noted […]

How likely is a Future Relationship deal?

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This is the big question of late 2020 in Brexit-land. All summer and into the autumn, we’ve have multiple briefings, this way and that; some setting us on the road to a rapid settlement, others pointing towards whatever euphemism-of-the-day we might have for a no-deal outcome. So which is it? Rather than try to list […]

Pacta sunt servanda: a guide

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Given all the recent interest in breaking treaties, I thought it’d be useful to provide you with a quick guide to what is generally accepted to be the international framework for this: pacta sunt servanda. A short Twitter thread puts some words to it, and a PDF version is available here.

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