The future EU-UK partnership: a historical institutionalist perspective

Sieglinde Gstöhl, David Phinnemore

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This article takes a comparative perspective to identify the likely parameters of the future partnership between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU). It asks why and how the EU exports institutional norms to its neighbouring countries, and what this implies for the UK-EU relationship. Drawing on historical institutionalism, the authors argue that as a specific legal-institutional order, the EU exports not only regulatory norms and values but also institutional norms into its partnerships with neighbouring countries, mainly through the mechanism of reproduction. For the UK this means that the nature of its future partnership with the EU is likely to be influenced more by established practices in and precedents from the EU’s relations with European neighbours than by any sense of privilege emanating from the UK’s position as a former member state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-115
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of European Integration
Issue number1
Early online date07 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Brexit
  • historical institutionalism
  • institutional norms
  • neighbourhood
  • privileged partnership
  • United Kingdom


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