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Centre for European Research

Negotiating the future EU-UK Relationship in the times of pandemics

When: Thursday, June 4, 2020, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Where: Zoom

On 23 June 2016 51.9% of the British citizens decided to leave the European Union. Since then, British government has been led by three different Prime ministers and almost four years of negotiation with the European Union and within the House of Commons have been required to get Brexit official on 31 January 2020. However, the withdrawal is not fully effective while many issues on the future of the EU-UK relations still need to be solved during the second round of negotiations, initiated on March 2nd.

Since then “serious divergences” between the EU and the UK according to Michel Barnier have emerged in the areas of trade and the respect of existing European norms; the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and the respect of the European Convention of Human Rights as a prelude to police and justice cooperation; fisheries; and the way Brexit should be negotiated, whether through various sectorial and specific agreements or through a global text. While many hopes rely on the incoming German presidency and on the influence of Angela Merkel to get a deal before the end of 2020, Boris Johnson has already announced that significative progress should be achieved before June and its rejection of any extension of the transition period  leaving open the possibility of a “no deal’ between the EU and the UK.

These difficulties seem to have substantially grown in times of COVID-19 as Boris Johnson now benefits from an even stronger popularity and asks for more economic and legislative flexibility for the UK to be able to face the pandemic. Hence, Johnson’s government and Conservatives have sent clear signals of their will to “get Brexit done” as the law adopted by MPs on May 18th putting an end to the existing specific rights granted to citizens from the European Economic Area and Switzerland to migrate to the UK. Thus, in spite of the current emergency to be dealt with and its coming economic consequences, the UK has stated it will not ask neither accept to postpone the end of the transition period. This position has been pointed out by Michel Barnier, criticizing the British lack of commitment into the negotiations, but it remains unclear whether the EU negotiator will be fully supported by the 27 member States in a EU still strongly divided and concerned by the answer to COVID-19.

It is against this backdrop, that this NEXTEUK Lecture Series aims at offering some keys to understand what happened and what will happen next in regard to the existing links between the United Kingdom and the European Union. To do so, the panel discussion will be focused on some of the following questions:

  • What is the current state of negotiations between the EU and the UK?
  • What should be the priorities for the EU-UK relations and have these priorities changed?
  • What are the obstacles to such links and what are the main topics of disagreement?
  • Can an agreement be found before June 30th?

Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King’s College and Director of the UK in a changing Europe, will start the event. The discussion will then be joined by Patrick Le Galès, CNRS Director of Research and Professor of political science and comparative sociology at the Centre d’études européennes et de politique comparée de Sciences Po Paris, and by Elvire Fabry, Senior Researcher at the Institut Jacques Delors.


Panelists :

This is part of the lecture series UK-EU relations 2.0. of the Centre for European Research's NEXTEUK project co-funded by the European Commission.


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