Download publication

Policy Contribution

The UK’s EU vote: the 1975 precedent and today’s negotiations

As the United Kingdom will hold a referendum before the end of 2017 on its continued EU membership, Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol draws lessons from the first UK referendum of 1975 on the EU.

By: Date: June 21, 2015 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

• The United Kingdom’s European Union Referendum Bill, introduced in the House of Commons on 28 May 2015, legislates for the holding of a referendum before 31 December 2017 on the UK’s continued EU membership. UK prime minister David Cameron is opening negotiations with other EU member states to try to obtain an EU reform deal that better suits UK interests. Both the negotiations and the outcome of the referendum pose major challenges for the UK and the EU.

• It will not be the first time that a UK government has staged a referendum following a renegotiation of its terms of EU membership. The first such referendum took place on 5 June 1975 after nearly a year of renegotiations, and the ‘yes’ won with 67.2 percent of the vote. Notwithstanding obvious differences, the conduct of today’s renegotiations should bear in mind this precedent, and in particular consider (a) how much the UK government can get out of the negotiations, in particular with respect to potential Treaty changes; (b) why political marketing is central to the referendum’s outcome; (c) how the UK administration’s internal divisions risk derailing the negotiations; and (d) why the negotiations risk antagonising even the UK’s best allies.

View comments
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

The EU27’s trade-offs in setting policy on central counterparties

This workshop aims to investigate the trade-offs involved in the next steps of decision-making for the future EU27 policy regarding central counterparties (CCPs / clearing houses).

Speakers: Nicolas Véron Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: July 5, 2017
Read article More by this author

Parliamentary Testimony

House of Commons

Exiting the European Union Committee

On 19 April 2017 Zsolt Darvas appeared as a witness at the Exiting the European Union Committee, the House of Commons, United Kingdom.

By: Zsolt Darvas Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, House of Commons, Testimonies Date: June 20, 2017
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

UK economic performance post-Brexit

What’s at stake: Almost a year after the UK voted to leave the European Union, its economic performance has showed mixed results. The risks of a Brexit-induced recession do not seem to be materialising. On the contrary, up until the end of 2016 the UK saw a continuation of strong consumer spending and strong output in consumer-focused activities. However, the UK economy is showing signs of slowing down in the first quarter of 2017, with weak growth in the services sector and business investments. In addition, strong consumption growth started to cool down as individuals’ purchasing power declines due to a weaker exchange rate. This leads to a question whether it is the beginning of the Brexit slowdown. We review the contributions made on this topic in the last year.

By: Uuriintuya Batsaikhan and Justine Feliu Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: May 15, 2017
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

Brexit and the UK creative industry

The creative sector is important for the UK in terms of employment and share of exports. However, it has mostly been overlooked in Brexit negotiation discussions, despite the fact that a hard Brexit could risk slowing down one of the UK's most consistently growing sectors over the last decades.

By: Maria Demertzis and Fabio Matera Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 18, 2017
Read article

Blog Post

Is the UK’s role in the European supply chain at risk?

Will the UK’s engagement in European supply chains be at risk once the UK exits the EU?

By: Alicia García-Herrero and Jianwei Xu Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Global Economics & Governance Date: December 20, 2016
Read article Download PDF More on this topic

Policy Contribution

Going local: empowering cities to lead EU decarbonisation

Decarbonisation and digitalisation are reshaping the European energy system, which will become more decentralised and interconnected with other sectors. Cities have the opportunity to be the key drivers of decarbonisation, but this will require the implementation of a new bottom-up governance system. This paper outlines a four-step mechanism in order to achieve decarbonisation at city level.

By: Simone Tagliapietra and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Date: November 30, 2016
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

Tweeting Brexit: Narrative building and sentiment analysis

Public discourse on social media was already in favour of Brexit by early summer 2015, and stayed that way until the referendum. An analysis of more than 890 000 tweets posted since 2012 reveals clear trends in the mood of online discussion. Our new methodology captures something that betting odds and opinion polls were not able to reveal – but will it be useful in future elections?

By: Giuseppe Porcaro and Henrik Müller Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: November 16, 2016
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Beyond hard, soft and no Brexit

There is still a certain degree of fuzziness about what the different degrees of Brexit entail. We attempt to fill this gap by setting out the options for the future EU-UK relationship.

By: André Sapir Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: October 21, 2016
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Brexit, the pound and the UK current account

What’s at stake: UK PM Theresa May announced the intention to trigger article 50 by March 2017, the Pound Sterling crashed, and a dispute among Tesco and Unilever has resulted in Marmite shortage. Brexit means Brexit, and it continues to be highly discussed. It would be impossible to summarise all the economic blogosphere on Brexit. Our aim is to periodically update our readers on selected important aspects of what promises to be a long-lived topic of discussion. This time we are looking at economists’ view on the Pound crash and the UK current account.

By: Silvia Merler Date: October 17, 2016
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

The Continental Partnership proposal: a reply to five main criticisms

The proposal for a Continental Partnership (CP) has received a great deal of attention. Two of the authors, André Sapir and Guntram Wolff, clarify some misunderstandings and respond to five key criticisms. They argue that the CP does not offer a way for EU members to restrict freedom of movement, nor is there a great risk of “political contagion”. Indeed, a CP arrangement could be the best route for the remaining EU members to maintain strong economic and security cooperation with the UK, while defending themselves against dumping and vetoes.

By: André Sapir and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: September 27, 2016
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

The City will decline—and we will be the poorer for it

Just as the City owes much of its current awe-inspiring prosperity to European integration, the brutal realities of Brexit will make it shrink, not thrive. All this is bleak news, not just for the City but for the UK's economy.

By: Nicolas Véron Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: September 14, 2016
Read article Download PDF More on this topic

External Publication

Europe after Brexit: A proposal for a continental partnership

This paper leaves aside the issue of EU reform and focuses on the desirable EU-UK relationship after Brexit. The authors argue that none of the existing models of partnership with the EU would be suitable for the UK. They propose a new form of collaboration, a continental partnership, which is considerably less deep than EU membership but rather closer than a simple free-trade agreement

By: Jean Pisani-Ferry, Norbert Röttgen, André Sapir, Paul Tucker and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: August 29, 2016
Load more posts