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S. Micossi: Why a “Soft” Brexit is Not Feasible

image-11/21/2016 - 10:53In discussions about Brexit, analysts and political pundits tend to presume that negotiations on a new framework for the relationship between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) will revolve around a compromise that would allow the UK to limit the free circulation of EU workers, while maintaining access to the Single European Market (SEM), especially for services, more or less under the current rules. A group of highly reputed European personalities — Jean Pisani-Ferry, Norbert Röttgen, André Sapir, Paul Tucker and Guntram B. Wolff—have gone as far as to propose a Continental Partnership (CP), in which the UK would not only be able to limit the free movement of persons, but it would also have a seat in a “Council” in charge of legislative coordination between the UK and the EU with the power to propose amendments to draft European legislation (although the European Parliament would not be obliged to accept them: thank you!). The more time goes and issues are dissected, the more I grow convinced that an agreement on those terms, and indeed any general agreement granting the UK access to the SEM will prove impossible.  

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