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  • Author: Taylor Butch
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In October 2015, People’s Republic of China (PRC) President Xi Jinping visited the United Kingdom at the request of Queen Elizabeth II, marking the first time that the PRC head of state had done so in ten years. In the lead-up to the visit, both Chinese and British officials had publicly acknowledged the significance of this meeting, calling it a “golden era” in relations between the two countries. Five years on, U.K.-China relations remains steady, but there are increasing signs of tension in the relationship. Rising controversies over Huawei’s role in 5G infrastructure, and Beijing’s actions to suppress opposition in Hong Kong—as well as tensions over the origins of the coronavirus pandemic—lie at the heart of this downturn in relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Science and Technology, Communications, Infrastructure, COVID-19, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Hong Kong
  • Author: Rebecca Christie, Thomas Wieser
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: In the negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom over their future relationship, we see a high probability of a weak contractual outcome, given the dominance of politics over considerations of market efficiency.
  • Topic: Markets, Governance, Europe , Brexit, Negotiation, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Mark Leonard
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The shock of covid-19 in Britain may end the culture-wars politics set off by the Brexit referendum – which split the country between Leave and Remain, town and city, old and young. Many people had lent their votes to Boris Johnson’s Conservatives for cultural reasons, in spite of the fact that they were closer to the opposition Labour Party on economic issues. Covid-19 might cause a rethink, as voters expect competence from the government. Counterintuitively, both Leavers and Remainers are open to a leftist domestic agenda and greater cooperation with international partners – issues on which Labour is normally strong. Covid-19 has caused voters to take a dimmer view of previously touted post-Brexit trade partners like the US and China. They think more highly of countries such as Germany. The battleground will be ‘Red Wall defectors’ – voters who gave Johnson his 2019 general election landslide but who are reassessing what matters to them after Brexit. A politics divided along the lines of Leavers and Remainers could disappear as quickly as it appeared – but the Conservatives may nevertheless attempt to stoke the divisions of 2016 that secured them Brexit.
  • Topic: Politics, European Union, Brexit, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Shimukunki Manchishi, Mwanda Phiri
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR)
  • Abstract: Following the Brexit referendum held in the UK in 2016 that resulted in a majority vote to leave the EU, there has been speculation and uncertainty surrounding the likely impact of Brexit on trade relations between the UK and developing countries such as Zambia. With Brexit, comes the exit of the UK from the EU, its customs union as well as the single market. Consequently, this implies that Zambia’s trade with the UK will no longer be under the ambit of the EU Everything But Arms (EBA) trade agreement which grants Zambian products other than arms, duty-free and quota-free market access to the UK. Naturally, this brings about questions of the likely impact of Brexit on trade relations between Zambia and the UK which thus far, has been determined collectively under the framework of the EU since the UK’s accession to the EU customs union. In this policy paper, we provide a contextual analysis of the same. From this, we deduce that a ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’ Brexit is not likely to adversely impact the UK’s trade with Zambia. This is on condition that the UK’s own unilateral preference scheme comes into place and in time, to replicate the EU-EBA scheme with no disruption to traders. On the Investment front, although the UK has been Zambia’s fourth-largest source country for FDI inflows over the period 2010-2017, investments have been waning. Brexit has the potential to turn things around as the UK seeks to increase investments in other jurisdictions outside of the EU. With the UK now envisioning to become the largest G7 investor in Africa by 2022, there is a high probability that Brexit could lead to a positive investment crowding in effect, provided Zambia becomes a more attractive investment destination.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Brexit, Investment, Trade
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Kingdom, Europe, Zambia
  • Author: Aliyyah Ahad, Monica Andriescu
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: Just weeks after the United Kingdom’s formal departure from the European Union on January 31, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe with full force. The outbreak drew public and political attention away from the implementation of the withdrawal agreement, while also straining many public administrations, including agencies responsible for residency applications. With the clock ticking down on the transition period, set to end on December 31, 2020, many EU countries have yet to announce the details of the systems that will govern the future status and rights of their UK-national residents. The United Kingdom is further along, having rolled out its pilot EU Settlement Scheme to resident EU nationals in 2019. But of the 26 EU countries with responsibilities for citizens’ rights, only Italy, Malta, and the Netherlands had launched registration schemes before the pandemic began. And even where implementation had begun, many systems faced setbacks as in-person government services were suspended by lockdown measures. This has created considerable uncertainty for UK nationals in EU countries, and EU nationals in the United Kingdom—as well as their families—who will have six months after the transition period ends to acquire a new post-Brexit status. As this policy brief details, the pandemic has put some in an even more precarious position, including families with third-country-national members that have been separated by travel restrictions, and the newly unemployed, who may no longer meet the conditions of the EU Free Movement Directive (the foundation of the withdrawal agreement). This brief sets out steps governments on both sides of the Channel can take in the coming months to “pandemic-proof” their implementation plans. These include: investing in smart outreach to would-be applicants, streamlining status-adjustment processes, and supporting civil-society groups that can help applicants through the process.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Economy, Brexit, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Christian Lequesne
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: The United Kingdom officially left the European Union on 31 January 2020 following the signing of the exit agreement. This departure went hand in hand with the opening of a transitional period until 31 December 2020, during which the rules of the internal market continue to govern relations between the two sides. However, negotiations have not yet been completed, since the framework for the future relationship between the United Kingdom – which has now become a third country – and the 27 Member States of the European Union has yet to be established. The joint political declaration of 30 January 2020 accompanying the exit Agreement provides for : "an ambitious, broad, deep, flexible partnership in trade and economic cooperation – with a comprehensive and balanced free trade agreement at its centre –, law enforcement and criminal justice, foreign, security and defence policy, as well as broader areas of cooperation"[1]. Initiated in February 2020 the negotiations on the future Agreement have been hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The 27 Member States decided that the defence of their positions would, as with the exit Agreement, be entrusted to the European Commission represented by a single negotiator, the Frenchman Michel Barnier. On the British side, former diplomat, David Frost, is in charge of defending the positions of the British government led by Boris Johnson, however the former will be called to another post as Government Adviser for National Security from September 2020. Although face-to-face negotiations resumed in Brussels at the end of June 2020, in substance they have made very modest progress. Hence a legitimate question: can an agreement on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union be reached by 31 December 2020, while Boris Johnson's government has refused to make use of the possibility offered of extending the transition period and thus the negotiations until 30 June 2020? Is there a risk of ending the year 2020 without a no deal and to have economic relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union governed by the common law of the World Trade Organisation?
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Trade
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: David Henig
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: The UK’s road to an independent trade policy has reached a critical moment. Within the next six months Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) containing long term arrangements and rules could be finalised with the United States and / or European Union, who between them constitute around 65% of UK trade. Talks have also started with Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Our updated Trade Policy Readiness Assessment suggests that the UK government is not fully ready for this activity. On a scale where 1 suggests no work being undertaken, 3 a stable position to begin talks, and 5 successful delivery, we find problems in seeking consensus, expanding priorities beyond the traditional tariff reduction, and putting in place a realistic implementation plan.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Free Trade, Trade
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: Burak Cop
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: As the most divisive issue of the British politics since 2016, the Brexit phenomenon continues to shake the two biggest mainstream parties, Conservatives and Labour. The Conservative Party is affected by the tension between the Soft and Hard Brexiters, but the divisiveness Brexit brings about hits Labour even worse. A No Deal or Hard Brexit is likely to strengthen Scotland’s bid for independence. Scotland’s probable departure from the UK will surely be encouraging for other secessionist movements in Europe, however it should be noted that the window of opportunity Brexit opens for Scottish nationalists constitutes a rather exceptional case in Europe. One could argue that the “Norway model” for post-Brexit UK could be valid for Turkey too, but that model aims to bring about a deeper integration than what the proponents of “EU-Turkey exclusive partnership” prescribe for Turkey.
  • Topic: European Union, Brexit, Political Parties, Secession
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, North America, Scotland, European Union
  • Author: Larissa Brunner
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: With the UK elections imminent, Larissa Brunner lays out three different scenarios depending on the outcome. None offer any reason for the EU to be optimistic. If the Conservatives win, the Withdrawal Agreement will probably be passed, providing short-term predictability and certainty. But any long-term deal will probably be much worse than the status quo. A Labour victory would mean the opposite: further short-term uncertainty until the new government has renegotiated another Brexit deal and held a second referendum, but a possible closer relationship in the long run (assuming the Leave vote is confirmed). A hung Parliament would combine the worst of both worlds. And then there’s the Scottish question. Regardless of whether the new government needs SNP support or not, the political pressure on London to endorse a second independence vote is likely to increase. The EU should, therefore, not take its eye off the ball and use the current respite in the Brexit process to prepare itself for all of the possible post-election scenarios.
  • Topic: Elections, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Europe, Scotland
  • Author: Katarina Schwarz, Todd Landman, Katrina Peake
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham
  • Abstract: How can the UK best protect human rights in Asia, an area historically weak in protecting and promoting human rights, when it comes to securing new trade deals after exiting the European Union (EU)? This policy brief assesses potential pathways for the UK to protect human rights in Asia through trade after exiting the EU, accounting for the specific challenges of advancing human rights in the region. It draws on existing practice, with a focus on the EU, to make suggestions for future UK trade policy through both unilateral and bilateral arrangements.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Brexit, Trade, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Asia