UK general election ahead – recent resources on the in/out question

To be in or not to be in, that is probably THE question for think tanks and media as the UK general election approaches (7 May, here current polls by YouGov and Lord Ashcroft).

Below, we reference a couple of resources that featured prominently in recent weeks in the debate on the UK’s relationship with the EU (see also this BBC primer):

On 23 March, CEPS hosted the presentation of Britain’s Future in Europe – Reform, Renegotiation, Repatriation or Secession, a book edited by Michael Emerson, offering a discussion and summary of the massive evidence gathered through the UK government’s review of the balance of competences. The book was reviewed in the Financial Times and, together with others on the subject, in the Economist (a subscription may be needed).

A curiosity from our holdings, to put the current soul-searching into perspective: in 1990, Britain’s Future in Europe was the title of a book written by a senior British official “out of a concern that Britain might not be getting the best out of its membership of the EC”. Already then, the author wondered whether “the de facto soverignty of the economic and financial markets has made the question of the de jure sovereignty an academic one”. In its conclusions, the book referred to “Europe – the Future”, a paper presented by Margareth Thatcher to the European Council in Fontainebleau in 1984 (published here in JCMS), which noted how “the progress that has been made towards ‘an ever-closer union of the peoples of Europe’ […] is unlikely to be reversed” (see original documents around the Fontainebleau European Council from the Pittsburgh Archives of European Integration and from the Thatcher Foundation).

Back to the present day, in late March the press commented widely on a report by Open Europe, which examined the possible cost of Brexit and concluded that

If the UK puts as much effort into reforming the EU as it would have to in order to make a success of Brexit, the UK and the EU would both be far better off.

Trade has been at the core of the argument for and against membership. A paper by the Centre for European Reform sees this from an often-overlooked sub-state angle, asking how a withdrawal from the EU would impact UK regions differently:

Without a free trade agreement, the UK could trade with the EU under World Trade Organisation rules. But the EU would apply tariffs to British goods. These would hit economic activity in poorer regions of the UK, where manufacturing tends to predominate, harder than richer ones.

On the home affairs dimension of the UK/EU relationship, the House of Lords EU Committee published in March a report on the justice and home affairs opt-in.

In the meanwhile, the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) appointed nine research fellows as part of a comprehensive project on The UK in a Changing Europe:

The Fellows will […] provide insights into the impact of a UK exit from the EU, as well as looking at alternative scenarios or structures that might better serve the UK’s interests.

More background from the library:

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One response to “UK general election ahead – recent resources on the in/out question

  1. Pingback: Think Tank Review – April issue Preview | Central Library·

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