Making social science accessible

06 May 2019


UK-EU Relations

A comprehensive report analysing the potential impact of the European Parliament elections for both the UK and the rest of the EU has been released by academic think tank The UK in a Changing Europe.

Highlights of The European elections and Brexit include:

  • How the outcome might affect British politics: including accelerating the decline of two-party politics and what the result might mean for a referendum or general election
  • How a new European parliament might impact on the Brexit process, including the election of a new European Commission president, who will have a significant part to play in future UK-EU relations
  • What the vote will mean in the different nations of the UK, which includes two pieces from Sir John Curtice looking at England and Scotland
  • What impact British MEPs, and their possible rapid departure, might have on shaping the different groups within the European parliament
  • An explainer looking at: what the elections are for; what MEPs do; how often and when the elections happen and how they work; who can vote in these elections; why the UK has to take part; how the UK voted last time; when the results will be and how the parties are organised in the European Parliament
  • Paula Surridge finds that the election offers voters greater opportunity to switch party due to people focusing on the ‘values’ divide, which has arisen since Brexit
  • Simon Hix notes that the main bloc of centre-left and centre-right groupings will fall below 50% for the first time. The new Parliament will be a difficult partner for EU governments and the Commission, who will not be able to rely on a stable coalition. This could result in policy gridlock in the EU, which could further encourage anti-European sentiments in many countries
  • Chris Bickerton looks at how the EU might change over the next five years.

Professor Anand Menon, director of The UK in a Changing Europe, said: “There is an irony that the upcoming European elections will be the most scrutinized, watched and dissected. And yet It remains far from certain whether – and if so for how long – any of the British MEPs will take up their seats.

“However, these elections are undoubtedly significant: for the EU, for Brexit and the future of British politics.

“I hope that this report will fulfil its ambitions of explaining how and why they might matter, and what to look out for.”


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