Monday, September 09, 2013

Europe Without Britain: Assessing the Impact on the EU of a British Withdrawal

The Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik - the German Institute for International and Security Affairs - Berlin, has published my research paper analysing the impact on the EU of a British withdrawal. You can access it here

I don't support a British withdrawal – a Brexit – from the EU. Nor do I support the way the Prime Minister has approached the idea of a renegotiation of the UK's membership. And while I think the possibility  the British will vote to withdraw is still open to debate, the possibility has clearly increased. What has not increased is debate elsewhere in the EU as to what this might mean for it. Over the next few days I'll outline why this is the case in some comment pieces elsewhere and linked here. 

If this research paper argues one thing more than any other, it is that there needs to be more argument about this issue. A British withdrawal could change the EU quite profoundly, for better or worse. But as things stand most analysis of this is based on very shallow speculation. 

Without setting out the detail of the paper – read it! - I do end the report with 10 questions the EU needs to ask itself about a Brexit:
  1. Should the EU refuse to discuss the idea of a British withdrawal until a vote to withdraw actually happens?
  2. Should the issue of withdrawal be discussed as part of any renegotiation of Britain’s relationship inside the EU?
  3. What red-lines should the EU set down for any discussion of withdrawal, either in any renegotiation or during a withdrawal negotiation? 
  4. How is Britain’s part in European integration – both positive and negative – to be assessed?
  5. To what extent would a UK withdrawal help solve the problems with the Eurozone and make possible further progress towards ‘ever closer union’?
  6. What would a UK withdrawal mean for the EU’s international standing and security?
  7. What type of relationship would the EU like to have with a UK that has left the EU, and how would this fit with, or change, the EU’s relationships with other non-EU parts of Europe?
  8. Should further written clarification be prepared about Article 50 TEU, and if so who is to do this?
  9. What processes should the EU follow to manage the internal changes to the EU brought about by a UK withdrawal?
  10. How would a UK withdrawal shift the balance of power in the EU and the direction of European integration?