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Category Archives: The EU

A story about a curry and no-deal planning

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Like the rest of you, I spent much of Christmas trying hard not to think too hard about Brexit, and for the most part I succeeded. Right up until about 0100 on 1 January, when I lay awake in bed like some modern-day Scrooge, thinking about Brexits to come. Experience told me that then wasn’t […]

Nothing has changed (part 453)

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It’s a mark of the times we live in here in the UK that a confidence vote in the leadership of the Prime Minister counts only as an incidental side-show in the performance of Brexit. At least it wasn’t a musical. Last night’s win by Theresa May was neither the emphatic crushing of her internal […]

How’s this all going to end?

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It’s obviously alma mater time for me, as I find myself giving a talk today at LSE on Brexit, just a few days after being back in Bruges. As is usual, I will be blaming any shortcomings on my education. The LSE talk aims to consider how Brexit plays out and I thought it’s useful to share […]

Three messages from the Withdrawal Agreement

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Yesterday’s publication of the provisional final text of the Withdrawal Agreement (and associated Political Declaration) marks a crucial point in the process of Brexit, opening the door to an approval and ratification process and the first major step in establishing a new basis for UK-EU relations. Weighing in at nearly 600 pages of text, it’s […]

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 […]

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, […]

Cui malum?

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It’s crunch time in Art.50. Or, at least, a crunch time. Rather than try to follow the individual twists and turns, many of which aren’t in the public gaze just yet, I’d like to step back and consider an environmental factor to these negotiations, namely who carries the cost. As I’ve discussed before, Brexit is […]

Brussels, not Birmingham

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I’ll be frank with you: I’ve never done a full party conference. Some fringe activities, yes, but not the whole shebang. Indeed, the nearest I’ve got is the pile of DVDs of an early 2000s UKIP conference, back when I worked more on euroscepticism (and when UKIP sold DVDs of their conference). This is all […]

Tell me what you want, what you really, really want

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A fundament of negotiation – and indeed of politics – is the notion of interaction. They are necessarily relational constructs: us and them, me fighting the system, let’s work it out together. If politics can be about an agent’s interaction with a set of societal values rather than any one individual or group, the negotiation […]

On being open (or closed)

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As we await the verdict of tomorrow’s European Council on the move to Phase 2, it’s perhaps useful to reflect on the decision-making style of Theresa May. Last night provided a vivid illustration of this, with the amendment to the Withdrawal Bill, which provides Parliament with a vote on the final deal. We might discuss on another […]

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