On 29 March 2019, the United Kingdom was scheduled to leave the European Union. The EU has granted the UK an extension until 22 May, with a decision due by 12 April. Yet less than a month from this deadline, the outcome and modalities of the UK’s departure are more uncertain than ever. No Deal, Theresa May’s Deal, Common Market 2.0, a second referendum and other pathways to No Brexit are all swirling through the British public and parliamentary debate. And whatever may be decided by 12 April, the future political and economic relationship between the UK and the EU will remain highly indeterminate.
On April Fool’s Day, three days after the original deadline, a panel of distinguished scholars from the two Amsterdam universities will take a step back from the headlines to dissect the Brexit process and consider its consequences for the EU, the UK, and the Netherlands. Questions to be discussed with each other and the audience will include: Why did the UK choose Brexit? How much did EU rules and policies such as free movement of people, goods, and services contribute to this decision? Why has it proved so difficult for the UK to exit the EU, and what does this portend for their future regulatory and trade relations with one another and the rest of the world? What ramifications will the Brexit process have for party politics and public opinion in the UK and other EU member states? How will the eventual outcome affect politics and policy-making in the EU itself, and what lessons should the Union learn from Brexit, e.g. for addressing Euroscepticism?
About the speakers
Gareth Davies is Professor of EU Law and Co-Director of VICES at the Vrije Universiteit. Before moving to the Netherlands he was a barrister in London. He researches and writes on EU constitutional and free movement law, and since the referendum in 2016 has become a regular radio and occasional TV commentator on Brexit affairs.
Sarah de Lange is Professor by special appointment at the Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. Since 2016 she holds the Dr. J.M. Den Uyl chair, a chair established by the Wiardi Beckman Foundation. Her main research interests concern parties, party families, and party systems, and in particular the rise of radicalism, populism, and extremism in contemporary democracies. Her work is broad in geographical scope and examines party politics in a range of European countries. Her latest edited volume, Radical Right-Wing Populist Parties in Western Europe: Into the Mainstream? appeared in 2016 with Routledge.
Catherine de Vries is a Westerdijk Chair and Professor of Political Behaviour in Europe at the Vrije Universiteit, where she is also Co-Director of VICES. Catherine is an expert on EU and European politics, and recently completed a book on Euroscepticism with Oxford University Press. She frequently provides commentary on European politics in the Dutch and international press, including the FD, Financial Times and Wall Street Journal.
Jonathan Zeitlin is Distinguished Faculty Professor of Public Policy and Governance in the Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam, and Academic Director of ACES. He holds a PhD in British History and lived and worked in the UK for 14 years. His current research and recent publications focus on EU and transnational governance, with a particular emphasis on market regulation, environmental protection, and social policy.
Frank Vandenbroucke (moderator) is University Professor at the University of Amsterdam and holds the Herman Deleeck chair at the University of Antwerp. His current research focuses on the impact of the EU on the development of social and employment policy in the EU Member States. He is affiliated to influential European think tanks, such as Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute and Friends of Europe, and collaborates regularly with other think tanks, such as the Centre for European Policy Studies.