EU

With little more than six months to go before the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019, the position of Scotland vis-à-vis the EU is not much clearer than it was in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum more than two years ago. The Scottish Government has put the question of a second independence referendum on the back-burner and discussions around a differentiated Brexit deal for Scotland have died down.
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This week, the ESRC-supported project “UK in a Changing Europe” issued a new report on the economic and political effects for the UK of a No Deal. This project uses a collection of experts in law, politics and economics drawn from across the UK. Its members were selected on merit, not on their support or otherwise for Brexit. They had written extensively about trade, migration, agriculture, EU politics etc. well before David Cameron called the referendum.
 
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Brexit is re-making the UK’s constitution under our noses.
 
The territorial constitution is particularly fragile. Pursuing Brexit, Theresa May’s government has stumbled into deep questions about devolution. The territorial politics of Brexit is a bewildering mix of ignorance, apparent disdain, confrontation, cooperation and collaboration. Rarely have the so-called devolution ‘settlements’ appeared more unsettled.
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From UK in a Changing Europe
 
Our first monthly survey shows significant uncertainty about Brexit. However, some key themes emerge:
 
Our panel put the prospect of no deal at around 50%.
 
The UK is highly likely to leave on 29 March 2019
 
A second referendum is seen as highly unlikely.
 
The October EU Council deadline is unlikely to be met.
 
The transition period will need to be extended beyond December 2020.
 
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Because of leaks coming out of the UK Government, we have known for some time what the broad lines of their negotiating offer to the EU would be. Yet the White Paper is still striking for the depth, breadth and detail about the UK’s future dependence on the European Union. It covers almost everything, from customs, to regulations in industrial and agricultural products, competition policy, regulatory institutions, security, broadcasting, justice, social and environmental protection, health insurance, research, energy, refugees, data exchange and overseas development.

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Last week the government released its fisheries white paper. While most of the fisheries and Brexit debate centres on quotas and access to waters, there is also an important devolution dimension. Brexit already has profound consequences for the UK’s devolution settlement and fisheries policy is one example of this.

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In the classic American musical, Guys and Dolls, the cast sang the praises of Nathan Detroit, the man who ran The Oldest Established Floating Crap Game in the City of New York. The game produced winners and losers with one exception: Nathan Detroit was always a winner. As long as, that is, he could keep the crap game going.

Faced with a choice between splitting her Cabinet into winners and losers, Theresa May has sought to keep the Brexit crap game going. She does this by avoiding betting on either a hard or soft Brexit.

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  • 12th February 2019

    CCC Fellow Professor Daniel Wincott of Cardiff University examines how Brexit processes have already reshaped territorial politics in the UK and changed its territorial constitution.

  • 7th February 2019

    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.

  • 4th February 2019

    In our latest report for the "Repatriation of Competences: Implications for Devolution" project, Professor Nicola McEwen and Dr Alexandra Remond examine how, in the longer term, Brexit poses significant risks for the climate and energy ambitions of the devolved nations. These include the loss of European Structural and Investment Funds targeted at climate and low carbon energy policies, from which the devolved territories have benefited disproportionately. European Investment Bank loan funding, which has financed high risk renewables projects, especially in Scotland, may also no longer be as accessible, while future access to research and innovation funding remains uncertain. The removal of the EU policy framework, which has incentivised the low carbon ambitions of the devolved nations may also result in lost opportunities.

  • 1st February 2019

    The outcome of the various Commons votes this week left certain only that the Government would either secure an amended deal and put it to a meaningful vote on Wednesday 13 February, or in the overwhelmingly likely absence of this make a further statement that day and table another amendable motion for the following day, the Groundhog Day that may lead to a ‘St Valentine’s Day Massacre’ for one side or the other. Richard Parry assesses the further two-week pause in parliamentary action on Brexit

  • 24th January 2019

    Concerns about the implications of the Irish backstop for the integrity of the domestic Union contributed significantly to the scale of the 118-strong backbench rebellion that led to Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement being defeated last week, by the extraordinary margin of 432 to 202. What do the arguments made during the Commons debate tell us about the nature of the ‘unionism’ that prevails in the contemporary Conservative Party?

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