Britain’s place in Europe: a view from the European Commission’s Representation in London

The University of Birmingham’s Institute of European Law’s Annual Lecture has taken place with Jacqueline Minor, Head of the Representation of European Commission in the United Kingdom, as guest speaker. In her lecture, Ms. Minor addressed the immediacy of the Brexit referendum, and outlined both the complexity of current negotiations and those that are likely to take place in the future.

WEbsite PictureMs. Minor has emphasised the changes of discourse that have moved from the original demands, as outlined by the Prime Minister in 2013, to what she has called the “four baskets” of the ongoing negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

From the original demands of further competitiveness, flexibility, democratic accountability and fairness between the Eurozone and non-euro countries; the negotiations have shifted to the above mentioned four baskets, three of which, further competitiveness, larger say of sovereign national parliaments and non-discrimination according to currency, are both similar to the originals and do not represent severe complications. The fourth; however, regarding the restrictions on the free movement of citizens is, according to Ms. Minor, proving to be a major problem for the ongoing negotiations.

Considering the scenario of successful negotiations and a possible vote in favour of the exit from the European Union, the lecture has also addressed the several forms a possible exit from the European Union could take. Stating that “a divorce is messy”, Ms. Minor has clearly expressed the difficulties and complications each option might have for the future status of the United Kingdom in its relationship with the members of the Union.