Negotiating Brexit: where now?

The October 2018 European Council was billed as decisive for the progress of the Article 50 negotiations. Held in its wake, this one-day conference took stock of progress, looked at the view from other national capitals, and considered the outstanding issues and difficult questions that remain.

It was also the occasion for the launch of a publication on the perspective from the UK’s negotiating partners from the “Negotiating Brexit” team. To download, click here. A host of distinguished speakers addressed a full house.

The day began with a roundtable on the state of negotiations. Anand Menon, director of ‘The UK in a Changing Europe’ opened the discussion.

He was followed by Sonja Puntscher-Riekmann, director of the Salzburg Centre of European Union Studies, who discussed the approach of the Austrian Council presidency to the Brexit negotiations, Nat Copsey from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who offered a perspective from the UK, and Hussein Kassim, who focused on the view from ‘Brussels’ – the EU institutions and the EU27. To watch the roundtable, which was chaired by Simon Usherwood, click here.

Ireland and the Irish border were a major theme of the day. In a keynote address, which offered a perspective rarely heard in the UK, John Bruton, Taoiseach of Ireland 1994-97, described the wider history of the relationship between Ireland and its neighbour, and spelt out the implications of Brexit for the relationship and the Good Friday Agreement.

The BBC’s Chris Morris was in the chair. To watch the keynote, click here.

In a panel on the Irish border, Brigid Laffan, director of the Robert Schuman Centre, outlined the key issues at stake in the negotiations for the Republic of Ireland, while John Garry, Queen’s University Belfast, discussed how the public in Northern Ireland views possible outcomes.

The panel was chaired by Denis Staunton, London editor of The Irish Times. To watch the panel, click here.

Migrants and migration was discussed in two panels. In the first, Steve Peers, University of Essex, and Catherine Barnard, senior fellow at ‘The UK in a Changing Europe’, considered the likely effects of a proposed UK immigration policy and the likely impact on UK businesses. To watch the panel, which was chaired by Anand Menon, click here.

In the second, chaired by Heather Rolfe, NIESR, Jonathan Portes, senior fellow at ‘The UK in a Changing Europe’, and Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory, discussed the status of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU. To watch the panel, click here.

L. Alan Winters, director, UK Trade Policy Observatory, opened the panel on trade, which was chaired by Gemma Tetlow, Institute for Government.

Professor Winters spelt out the implications for the UK’s trading relations and the economy of an essentially politically-driven process. Sir Martin Donnelly, former permanent secretary at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, and more recently the Department of Trade, highlighted the scale of the challenges that lie ahead.

Sam Lowe, Centre for European Reform, reflected on the complexities of trade in services and the challenges that confront this sector which accounts for 80 per cent of the UK economy. Allie Renison, Institute of Directors, discussed business readiness. To watch the panel, click here.

The challenges that confront key policy areas were considered in two panels. In the first, chaired by Ian Dunt, editor of Politics.co.uk. Eilis Ferran, University of Cambridge, examined financial services, and John Vincent, CEO of International Federation of Airworthiness, outlined the implications for aviation. To watch the panel, click here.

John Fingleton of Fingleton Associates discussed competition policy, and Erik Millstone, University of Sussex, looked at what lies ahead for food policy, especially food safety. This panel was chaired by Sonja Puntscher-Riekmann. To watch the panel, click here.

The view from national capitals was discussed in three sessions. Nicolai von Ondarza of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin, provided a view from Germany in his keynote speech. To watch the keynote, click here. The session was chaired by John Peet, political editor at The Economist.

In the panel chaired by Asa Bennett, Brexit commissioning editor of the Daily Telegraph, Sonja Puntscher-Riekmann reported the view from Austria, Salvador Llaudes of the Real Instituto Elcano, Spain, Robert Csehi, of the Technischen Universität München, Hungary, and Natasza Styczyńska, of the Jagiellonian University, Poland.

To watch the panel, click here. In a second panel, chaired by Brigid Laffan, Petr Kaniok at the Masaryk University, Ramūnas Vilpišauskas, Vilnius University, and Mats Braun, Södertörn University discussed the respective perspectives of the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Sweden. To watch the panel, click here.

‘Negotiating Brexit: national governments, EU institutions, and the UK’ is funded by a Brexit priority grant awarded by the ESRC. For further information, click here.

By Hussein Kassim, senior fellow at The UK in a Changing Europe. 

Disclaimer:
The views expressed in this analysis post are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative.

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