Reports 2016

The BREXIT negotiations: Red lines and what they mean for the landing zone

17 October 2016


Whilst the formal negotiations on Brexit remain on hold, pending the enactment of article 50 by the UK government that will trigger the process of the UK’s secession from the European Union, the media and other commentators are busy speculating about the eventual deal between the UK and the EU, which will shape the partners’ future relationship for years to come. On the EU side, one clear message seems to be emerging and that is the inviolability of the four freedoms, particularly freedom of movement. EU leaders are said to be anxious not to make concessions that could open the floodgates to other sceptical EU member states and wish to be seen to be taking a tough approach. Far less clear is the position of the UK government with mixed, even contradictory, messages emanating from the main protagonists and a pervading impression that the UK does not know what it wants. Whilst reducing immigration from Europe to the UK remains the key political imperative, will hard-edged economics prevail? How likely is it that the UK will retain access to the Single Market? Is there room for manoeuvre or will there be a clean break and, if yes, what kind of trading relationship will be concluded? What are the red lines on both sides and can they be blurred? These were just some of the questions explored by our panel of experts during this Policy Dialogue.

Speakers included: Fabian Zuleeg, Chief Executive, European Policy Centre, Andrew Duff, Visiting Fellow, European Policy Centre; former MEP, André Sapir, Senior Fellow, Bruegel; University Professor, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Nick Crosby, Independent Commentator, Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs, King’s College London; Director, UK in a Changing Europe