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Europe after the Brits

Structural reforms / DISCUSSION PAPER
Andrew Duff

Date: 25/03/2021
Andrew Duff argues that the loss of the United Kingdom should prompt serious reflection about the constitutional direction of the European Union. The secession of a member state changes the context of European integration. Brexit leaves the EU weaker, smaller and poorer — but it can and should also spur reform.

The EU should aim to have major changes in place by 2029, including treaty revision. The reforms should include: (i) a renegotiation of the Brexit deal leading to a new class of affiliate membership; (ii) completion of the constitutional framework for a fiscal union; (iii) a European Parliament fully legitimated by election from transnational lists; and (iv) a ‘European Security Council’ of defence ministers to span the divide between the EU and NATO.

The Conference on the Future of Europe may prove to be a useful democratic experiment. But it is not designed to address the important constitutional challenges that the Union faces. Duff therefore proposes creating an expert reflection group to stimulate the full implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon as well as prepare the way for the next Convention which must be called to amend the EU treaties. More immediately, the reflection group should make proposals to settle the controversial matter of how to elect the new President of the European Commission in 2024.

Andrew Duff’s new book, Britain and the Puzzle of European Union, is to be published by Routledge later this year.

Read the full paper here.
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