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Reports (Research Report) Year : 2015

BREXIT: What Fair Deal between UK and EU Member States?

Thierry Chopin
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UK's relationship with the European Union has never been a bed of roses. In 1975, barely two years after joining, Harold Wilson’s Labour government consulted the British population by referendum asking them whether they wanted to remain in the European Community. At that time 67% answered “yes”. For the 42 years of membership, taking part in Europe has, for most British governments, comprised preventing Europe’s institutions from having too much power and negotiating exemptions and derogations to protect national sovereignty. In 2015 this has led to a UK that has managed to escape both from the single currency and the Schengen Agreements on the free movement of people. There are three areas in which the UK has made a strong contribution to the European Union without playing a wild-card: the creation of the internal market, enlargement and defence. The British have always felt comfortable with a European Union defined as a vast market, but much less so with one of political union. Since a market can never exist without regulation the governments in London have accepted however, whether they have liked it or not, for the European Union to regulate trade, financial services and capital. Hence enlargements have often been viewed as positive extensions to the market. Since UK, along with France, are the only ones to have an army that can project itself outside of the European Union, it has been able to make a significant contribution to European Defence without committing strongly to the institutionalisation of a European Defence Policy, which might have competed against NATO.
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hal-03647343 , version 1 (20-04-2022)


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Thierry Chopin, Christian Lequesne. BREXIT: What Fair Deal between UK and EU Member States?. [Research Report] CERI; Fondation Robert-Schuman. 2015, pp.42. ⟨hal-03647343⟩
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