Making social science accessible

31 Oct 2023

UK-EU Relations

UK-EU Relations Tracker Q3

Released quarterly, the UK in a Changing Europe UK-EU Relations Tracker assesses relations between the UK and EU as well as relationships between the UK and EU member states. This edition of the tracker covers developments from July to September 2023.

On 1 October, the UK government introduced the green-lane/red-lane system to ease the flow of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland as part of the Windsor Framework. In the context of thawing relations post Windsor Framework, the UK and EU have reiterated their commitment to making the most of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). The political agreement on the UK’s association to the Horizon and Copernicus programmes was an important milestone. In other areas, the tracker notes that discussions are ongoing.

On the future of the relationship, the tracker highlights a growing mismatch between debates on the two sides. Within the UK, the Labour Party have set out plans for building on the TCA in pursuit of a closer trading relationship. The EU, on the other hand, shows little appetite for revisiting the terms of UK-EU trade.

Bilaterally, the UK has now signed general statements or declarations with most EU member states. The focus is therefore shifting from formalising relations to maintaining and implementing them. This requires continued engagement, which the tracker indicates can be difficult to sustain at the highest political level.

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