Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Panel 808: Managing Relations with and within the UK after Brexit
Wednesday, 04/Sep/2019:
9:30am - 11:00am

Session Chair: Viviane Gravey, Queen's University Belfast
Location: Room 12.04


Brexit and the Coping Strategies of Small States: The Case of Portugal

António Raimundo1,2, Laura Ferreira-Pereira1

1University of Minho, Portugal; 2ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union poses important new challenges to smaller European countries. Insights from the literature on small states point to the detrimental effects Brexit might have on the ‘shelter’ and ‘platform’ benefits European integration offers to smaller EU member states. That literature also outlines the strategies small EU countries are likely to pursue in order to better meet the challenges stemming from the UK withdrawal. The present paper examines in detail such challenges and coping strategies by focusing on the case of Portugal, a country that tends to be neglected by the comparative literature on small EU states and EU studies in general. Portugal is a committed EU member, being a fully-fledged participant in Schengen and the Eurozone, while supporting advances in CFSP/CSDP. However, the small Iberian country also has a historical alliance with the UK, sharing with it an Atlanticist outlook and important socio-economic ties in sectors such as migration, tourism and trade. This ambivalent foreign policy orientation and diversity of interests at stake makes it an interesting case for pursuing the objectives of this research. Taking into account Portugal’s political-military alignment with US strategic interests, inside and outside NATO, the context of uncertainty underpinning transatlantic relations under the Trump Administration adds further relevance to this study. Its findings will contribute to the literature on Portuguese foreign policy, small EU states, and European integration.

Franco-British Relations in the Brexit Negotiations

Pauline Schnapper

université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, France

The French government has often been portrayed in the British eurosceptic press as having adopted a particularly tough approach to the UK-EU negotiations on the British exit deal (2017-2019) and as being willing to "punish" the UK as a way to deter other countries from attempting to leave the EU and to weaken populist parties, in other countries as well as the Frexit movement at home. This paper will attempt to establish the truth or otherwise of this assertion. Based on interviews with French officials, it will assess the role played by the French government in maintaining an EU hard negotiating strategy towards the UK during that period and the role the Franco-British rapprochement of the last two decades, especially in the defence and security fields, played out in that strategy.

Differentiation, Brexit and EU-Turkey Relations

Agnieszka Cianciara1, Adam Szymański2

1Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland; 2University of Warsaw

Differentiation can be the result of both integration and disintegration processes in the EU. Whereas the post-Brexit relations between the EU and UK constitute a clear case of differentiated disintegration (Schimmelfennig 2018), an alternative model of future EU-Turkey relations is increasingly being discussed in terms of differentiated integration (Muftuler-Bac 2017). The objective of this paper is to - building on the existing differentiation literature - juxtapose and compare various models proposed for EU-UK relationship (including the political declaration attached to the withdrawal agreement) on the one hand and for EU-Turkey relations on the other. Thus the central research question is to what extent could the EU-UK experience of differentiation as a result of disintegration serve as an inspiration for re-construction of EU-Turkey relations beyond accession paradigm and towards differentiation as a result of selective integration. We examine both the range of external differentiation options for EU economic and security relationship with the two countries, as well as constraints and scope conditions for such a relationship that affect both the UK and Turkey. This research is part of the project “Differentiated integration, Turkish accession prospects and EU geopolitics” (2016-2019) funded by the National Science Centre in Poland.

Nationalism and Supranationalism in the Age of Brexit: Comparing the Scottish National Party’s and Sinn Féin’s Responses to Brexit

Patrick Utz, Judith Sijstermans

University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

This paper compares how two minority nationalist parties, the Scottish National Party and Sinn Féin, have responded ideologically and strategically to the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU. We compare two parties that claim to represent the two nations of the UK that voted to remain in the 2016 referendum. However, both parties have been side-lined in the internal UK debate on Brexit. By comparing the SNP and SF, we explore the complex relationships between devolution, European integration and multilevel party politics against the backdrop of Brexit. Our analysis is based on a qualitative assessment of party documents and semi-structured interviews with party elites.

SF’s support for EU membership is in line with its ongoing rapprochement with mainstream politics. Brexit was the first time that SF took a pro-EU referendum position, which brought it into the pro-EU consensus within Irish nationalism, North and South. Brexit rejuvenated the SNP’s pro-European ideology and outreach. However, it also modified the SNP’s strategic options and internal tensions on a second Scottish independence referendum. Both parties’ responses to Brexit are conditioned by existing ideological stances, internal disagreement, and altered external structural opportunities. Opportunity structures have varied for the two parties due to different degrees of support for their positions on part of the EU-27.