Brexit and Europe: a new entente

23 February 2017
Andrew Duff (President of the Spinelli Group; Former Member of the European Parliament 1999-2014)

The UK is set to leave the European Union; of that, everyone is certain. As with all divorces, especially ones where both partners’ interests and assets are so intricately entwined, there is a risk of bitter recrimination. But although UK Prime Minister Theresa May recently declared that “Brexit means Brexit”, it will hardly be the end of the UK’s engagement in the continent. In this paper, Andrew Duff examines whether we can begin to look at the Article 50 process in a more positive light – that is, whether Brexit could herald a new period of entente between Britain and Europe. With a more optimistic outcome in mind, Duff lays out the desirable institutional make-up of a post-Brexit EU-UK relationship, including a new judicial tribunal to settle possible disputes. Duff also calls for the creation of a ‘transition authority’ to monitor and supervise the Brexit process and to manage inevitable legacy difficulties over an indefinite period. In the longer term, it is unclear where such an entente could lead to. But it would surely be somewhere better and brighter than any obvious alternative.

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