Devolution; Brexit; Intergovernmental Relations

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It’s well known that Scots voted by a clear majority for the UK to remain within the EU. That Scotland faced the prospect of “being taken out of the EU against our will” was, according to the First Minister the morning after the vote, both “democratically unacceptable” and a “significant and a material change of the circumstances in which Scotland voted against independence in 2014.” The independence issue has been bubbling below the surface ever since, but the challenges Brexit poses for Scottish devolution have presented the more pressing concerns.
 
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Over the course of the UK’s preparations for withdrawing from the EU, the issue of the UK’s own internal market has emerged as an issue of concern, and one that has the potentially significant consequences for devolution. 
 
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As we try to make sense of the twists and turns of Brexit politics, Westminster can seem like Alice’s Wonderland. The mad riddle of Brexit, in its latest immediate version, is the obsessive concern for MPs and much of the media.  ‘How long is forever?’ Alice asked.  ‘Sometimes just one second’ replied the White Rabbit.  In radically uncertain and unsettled times, an academic perspective – stepping back and trying to frame the current drama in the longer-term – could add something different to the debate.
 
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The future of agriculture policy across the United Kingdom after Brexit is uncertain and risky, according to a new paper by Professor Michael Keating of the Centre on Constitutional Change. Reforms of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy over recent years have shifted the emphasis from farming to the broader concept of rural policy. As member states have gained more discretion in applying policy, the nations of the UK have also diverged, according to local conditions and preferences. 
 
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The 2020 Climate and Energy Package saw the EU become an increasingly important actor in climate and energy policy.  It set the legal and regulatory framework within which governments at every level across the 28 member states have developed their own policies. The EU has promoted and financed low carbon transition, including by setting binding targets for renewables and GHG emissions reductions, and targets for greater energy efficiency.
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