On the never-ending road to Brexit: perspectives for the European Union

Dagmar Schiek

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The withdrawal of a Member State – even a notoriously reluctant one – illustrates that the individual crises of the EU add up to more than their sum; "Brexit" thus suggests a deeper crisis of the European Union, relating to its substantive constitutional aims. If that is the case, the EU not only needs to administer the first ever withdrawal of a Member State in a measured manner not impacting more than necessary on the relations to its stroppy North-westerly neighbour posed to enhance perceived competitiveness through a deregulation campaign. There is also a necessity of reacting more fundamentally, and to refocus the European Union on facing the future challenges of ecological and socio-economic sustainability while also re-engaging with its citizenry. Since the European Union remains a project based on integration through law, the medium and long-term plans for responding to this situation will have to be grounded in its legal order, without neglecting the societal and political embeddedness of law. This special issue tackles this challenge with a focus on the substantive law of the European Union, asking whether and how the EU should react to “Brexit”. It does so based on the idea that it is from the fringes of the European Union that the need for change can best be observed. Accordingly, the issue assembles authors from Ireland, North and South, from Finland, Poland and the UK (with origins in Germany and Greece, though). Alongside debates on the future of EU citizenship, environmental and social policy, the articles also discuss aspects of the rule of law crisis in Poland and perspectives of the EU’s breakup for the island of Ireland. This selection is far from eclectic, as it addresses core aspects of the future of the EU as well as the challenges emanating from its Eastern and Western fringes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-395
JournalNorthern Ireland Legal Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2018


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