A Professor of EU Law on Brexit

Just in case you don’t have 20 minutes to listen to Prof. Dougan’s talk here are the main points (and yes, Dougan is the Jean Monnet chair at the University and it is funded by the EU. Nonetheless I have not read a single thing on the Brexit side that has more substance or factual accuracy).

SOVEREIGNTY: The UK is a sovereign power and the ultimate power lies with Parliament. The EU is not even a sovereign entity – it has no power in our country unless parliament grants it.

US vs. THEM: People talk about “Brussels” as if it were an alien entity. We are one of the “Big Three” (the others are France and Germany) who have the deciding say in everything that the EU decides (with 73, 74 and 96 MEPs respectively). Most decisions are made by consensus. The Commission does not dictate. The Council (all countries’ representatives at a table) and the Parliament (directly elected by national populations) decide what will be most beneficial to all involved. We are one of the most power decision makers in Europe.

LAW: European Law does not supersede UK law. When the UK judges sometimes overrule British decisions in favour of the EU it is because the UK parliament has told them to do so. If we leave the EU then all our laws will have to be re-written in short measure. And, Prof, Dougan, argues Parliament will not have the time to do this – it will be left to unelected bodies.

TRADE: The the EU is the most sophisticated and powerful trading block in the world by a long way. Not just the lack of tariffs but much more importantly the lack of regulatory construction (where the UK can’t sell its computers to France because of different health, environmental, safety laws). To leave the Single Market would bring us back to square one. The “Norwegian option” means that we would have to abide by all EU laws but have no say in how they’re made – also we would still have to pay a huge fee to trade. If we wanted to limit free movement of people then we would have to leave completely. This would mean we would have to negotiate from scratch bi-lateral agreements with all countries of the world which would take up to 10 years. (Switzerland is still negotiating these treaties after voting not to be in the Single Market in the 1970s).

1 Comment

  1. Susan Harris

    August 10, 2016 at 9:31 am

    I am not understanding your LAW paragraph. If UK law is not superseded by EU law, why do UK laws have to be rewritten after a now decisive vote to exit? There would simply be no direction any more from the UK parliament to the judiciary to favor EU law on the matter (a statement the substantiation of which I find hard to pin down unless you have some evidence of these directives). I do not have a dog in this fight since I do not live in England or Europe, but am just wondering about the legal reasoning.

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