The announcement of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) on Christmas Eve 2020 may have come as a surprise given endless media reports about the negotiators’ intransigence and the imminent threat of a cliff edge. Add to this the Covid-19 pandemic and some ten months and just nine formal rounds of negotiations make it remarkable that any deal has been reached, let alone one that spans 1246 pages. To put this in context, only a fortnight before the deal was reached, Australia concluded its own 9th formal round of negotiations with the EU; however, this was after over two and half years of negotiations, which will continue for the foreseeable future. And while the resounding parliamentary vote in favour of implementing the TCA (521 votes in favour and 73 against) is good for the political legitimacy of the deal, the swiftness of the vote is less good in terms of democratic process and participation.
Written by Davor Jancic, Queen Mary, University of London
This article was first published on UK Constitutional Law Association blog, on 20 January 2021.
The 2020 US presidential elections, held on 3 November 2020, culminated in the election of Joe Biden as President of the United States, marking the end of Donald Trump’s presidency. At the NEXTEUK event on ‘The Impact of the US Elections on Europe and the Future EU-UK Relationship,’ Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer (Director of Research, Paris Office-German Marshall Fund), Christian Lequesne (Professor at Sciences Po), and Richard Johnson, (Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London) offered their views on the impact of the incoming Biden presidency for Europe, the transatlantic relationship, a UK-US trade deal, and future European Union (EU)-United Kingdom (UK) relations. These views are particularly relevant in light of the upcoming transfer of power between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on 20 January, and confirmation that the Democratic Party has gained control of the Senate following the run-off election in the US state of Georgia.
Written by Tinahy Andriamasomanana, Queen Mary, University of London
The post-Brexit police cooperation: An act of tightrope walk
11 December 2020
On October 21st, Michel Barnier announced to the European Parliament that “the outline of an agreement” on police cooperation between the EU and the UK after Brexit was gradually appearing following recent progress in the negotiations. Nonetheless, this article explains why there appears to still be a long way to go before a deal can be concluded and why debate on this topic has been so convoluted.
Written by Agathe Piquet, Queen Mary, University of London
Reckless and Hasty— three Brexit moments and three UK PM
4 December 2020
On 2nd of December Michel Barnier, the European Union's (EU) chief Brexit negotiator, has said that next 36 hours are crucial in Brexit talks and warned that key sticking points remained in the areas of level playing field, EU fishing rights and how any trade deal might be implemented. At the end of these talks, we will find out whether the United Kingdom agrees to a trade-off between fisheries and the bloc’s level playing field demands, which will then determine how likely a deal is. Arguably, the UK governments have been hasty about Brexit since 2016, from David Cameron’s, former Prime Minister (2010-2016), call for a referendum on the UK’s EU membership and Theresa May’s, former UK PM (2016-2019), decision to trigger Article 50 to Boris Johnson’s, UK PM (2019-) refusal to ask for an extension to the transition period. However, past nine months of numerous negotiations rounds left everyone oblivious to what is happening behind the closed doors on the future partnership between the EU and the UK and if the outcome-oriented UK government is willing to have a deal with the EU. Today I do not want to write about how the talks of this week will pan out, nor I wish to speculate if a deal is likely by the end of this week or next, but I like to address the following questions: how hasty and reckless Brexit and Brexit negotiations have been? What role the UK Prime Ministers (PM) (2016-2020) played in this? Furthermore, what impact hastiness and unpreparedness, as well as the personality traits of the PMs had on the Brexit process?
Could nationalism gain momentum in a post-Angela Merkel Europe?
1 December 2020
Germany’s “Defender of Liberal Democracy” - Angel Merkel steps down as Chancellor in 2021 amid various EU elections receiving the nationalist vote, e.g. Poland and Hungary. In Merkel’s absence, could far-right politics gain momentum and have an influence in Europe?
Written by Samuel Kolawole, MA student of International Relations at Queen Mary University of London.
Freedom of movement in Europe is facing turbulent times with the ongoing COVID19 pandemic and Brexit. The policy roundtable on ‘Turbulent times for the freedom of movement in Europe? The impact Brexit and Pandemic Politics’ during the first NEXTEUK international conference on Brexit and the future of EU-UK relations gathered scholars and policy experts in the field of migration, asylum, and justice and home affairs on 11 September 2020. Claude Moraes (former Chair of European Parliament LIBE Committee), Violeta Moreno-Lax (QMUL), Susanne Oberhauser (European Parliament Liaison Office in the UK), Nicole Sykes (ProBono Economics), Valsamis Mitsilegas (QMUL), and Sabine Saurugger (Sciences Po Grenoble) offered their views on the challenges facing freedom of movement in Europe in the face of the ‘twin storms’ of COVID-19 and Brexit.
Written by Tinahy Andriamasomanana, Queen Mary, University of London
Channel crossings, migration and Franco-British cooperation
4 October 2020
The past few months have been rocky for Franco-British cooperation on migration, with Priti Patel denouncing channel crossings and the dire conditions of migrants living in the streets of Calais and other cities in northern France.
A ‘Clandestine Channel Commander’, Dan O’Mahoney, has even been given the job of making the crossing route unviable for small boats.
Channel crossings are on the rise, with around 5,000 crossings this summer and the interception of 409 migrants in a single day on 2 September. Albeit statistically insignificant compared to other part of the worlds, these numbers call into question the state of the Franco-British cooperation.
Why are more migrants crossing the Channel? To what extent may Brexit and Covid-19 play a role in these crossings? What’s the state of Franco-British cooperation? How will it evolve after Brexit?
Written by Sarah Wolff, Queen Mary, University of London
This article was first published on UK in a Changing Europe, on 1 October 2020.
The UK healthcare sector finds itself in an unprecedented situation as it tries to deal with the ramifications of the Coronavirus pandemic whilst planning for the UK’s exit from the European Union. However, from a closer analysis of the situation there appears to be some silver linings as this crisis could prompt the healthcare sector to implement some important changes.
Written by Griffin Shiel, Queen Mary, University of London
2020 is a key year for EU-UK talks. By the end of June, the British government has to decide whether it will ask for an extension of the transition period beyond December 31st. This decision partly depends on the outcomes of the four rounds of negotiations on the future of their relations. The uncertainty of this issue has unexpectedly increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a devastating impact in much of Europe. Anand Menon (King’s College London – UK in a changing Europe), Elvire Fabry (Institut Jacques Delors) and Patrick Le Galès (Sciences Po Paris) offered their views on the consequences of the current situation during a NEXTEUK Jean Monnet Lecture on June 4th and this blog article summarises their main ideas.
Written by Agathe Piquet, Queen Mary, University of London.
Four years on from the 2016 United Kingdom European Union referendum polarisation has manifested in socio-political life. What is the nature of this polarisation and how did this drive Britain’s decision to leave the European Union? Addressing the affective nature of Brexit and it’s geographical polarisation can help us understand emotional influences that underpin such division.
Written by Tabitha Baker, Bournemouth University.
As the world is facing an unprecedented pandemic in contemporary politics, one may wonder what impact COVID-19 will have on European integration and the future of EU-China relations.
Written by Dr Sarah Wolff, Queen Mary, University of London.
This article was first published on EUPlant blog, a Jean Monnet Network on ‘EU-China Legal and Judicial Cooperation’, on 2 June 2020.
Supporters of populist parties are often portrayed as politically naïve or misinformed, but to what extent does this image reflect reality? Drawing on a new study, this article presents evidence that populist party supporters are not less informed than supporters of other parties. However, supporters of right-wing populist parties had a greater tendency to give incorrect answers to political knowledge questions, suggesting there are key differences between the characteristics of left-wing and right-wing populist voters.
Contrary to the aims of the Political Declaration, the UK government has refused to agree to co-operation between the UK and EU Parliaments. It can be argued this is not just misguided and antagonistic, but breaks with a tradition of inter-parliamentary co-operation that long predates the EU.
Written by Dr Davor Jancic, Queen Mary, University of London.
This article was first published on LSE Blog on 20 May 2020.
Regaining trust: Tackling the corona virus in Greece
15 April 2020
How useful are national referenda to alleviate conflicts of sovereignty in the EU? An enquiry about the Greek 2015 referendum on the bail out.
This article also appears on the Greece@LSE blog on 13 April 2020.
What consequences will Brexit have for British politics? Given all that happened in the past years since the referendum, it is hard to imagine British politics ever returning to what it was prior to 2016.
Written by Professor Pauline Schnapper, Sorbonne Nouvelle University.