Europa Institute roundtable on British EU referendum
On Friday 3rd June, the Europa Institute hosted a Leiden Law Exchange (LLX) on the British referendum on membership of the European Union. In a roundtable discussion, academics, policy makers and other experts engaged in a lively debate on the legal and political implications of a ‘Brexit’ or a ‘Bremain’ vote.
Keynote speeches were given by Mr. Tony Agotha of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Floris De Witte of the London School of Economics, and Prof. Christa Tobler of the Europa Institute. The afternoon was chaired by Prof. Stefaan Van den Bogaert of the Europa Institute. Following the keynote speeches, there was an open discussion between all participants.
The afternoon was divided along several themes. Mr. Agotha discussed the ramifications of the referendum from the perspective of the ongoing Dutch presidency of the Council. Dr. De Witte mainly looked at the ‘Bremain’ scenario, and the implications of the EU UK settlement that was negotiated in February, in particular regarding the free movement of persons. Prof. Tobler discussed alternative models for EU-UK relations if the UK were to leave. It emerged that ‘the Switzerland model’ is a flawed one, and may not even be on offer. An EEA-type association as currently enjoyed by Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland would seem the most favourable for both parties.
The UK referendum is held on Thursday 23rd June. On Saturday 25th June, the Europa Institute and the British Institute of International and Comparative Law together host the 55th annual Leiden-London meeting, where the UK referendum will also be the subject of a panel discussion.