Quo Vadis United Kingdom? Withdrawal from the European Union and Alternatives to Membership
Dr. Adam Lazowski
- Wednesday 18 January 2012, 12:45 to 13:45
- Open to:
- Public, Staff, Students
- Dr Adam Lazowski, University of Westminster
Surrey European Law Unit is pleased to present Dr Adam Lazowski, University of Westminster to deliver the following seminar.
It is common wisdom that marriages are rather complex adventures but divorces are usually painful, time consuming and expensive indeed. This, by analogy, can be applied to a potential departure from the European Union. It is argued that the easiness with which representatives of political elites and media talk about a withdrawal from the European Union does not reflect the sheer complexity of such a move and alternatives that may be ahead. The mere fact that the European Union is not only a political endeavour but a legal order is quite often overlooked or even ignored.
The starting point of this analysis is Article 50 TEU, which provides a withdrawal clause. Both, modus operandi for a divorce as well as substantive details that need to be addressed in a withdrawal agreement are taken on board. Even with a plethora of opt-outs available under the current legal framework the United Kingdom remains heavily integrated economically and legally with the other 26 (soon 27) Member States of the European Union. This triggers a pertinent question of shape of a future legal framework for UK-EU relations, should the departure become a reality. A legal vacuum ought not be considered as a viable option. Bearing in mind almost forty years of membership in the European Union, it is assumed that future relationship based on mere association, even encompassing a free trade area, is not a desirable option. Such a downgrade of relations would have had too damaging an effect on the UK’s economy and geopolitical presence. One would rather look for close co-operation encompassing a degree of legal integration. At present two such alternatives to membership exist - the European Economic Area and the Swiss model. They definitely merit attention.
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