A new chapter in EU-UK ties? [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Briefing 03-03-2023

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, have hailed the new political agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom as the opening of a new chapter in relations between the two. Ties have been uneasy ever since the UK left the EU, more than three years ago, hindering the development of much-needed cooperation in areas such as defence and scientific research. The new agreement in principle, called the Windsor Framework, modifies trade rules for Northern Ireland, which have been a source of heated debate in the post-Brexit UK. The deal seeks to resolve tensions caused by the Ireland/Northern Ireland protocol, a complex agreement which sets trading rules for Northern Ireland – allowing it to access the EU single market and thus avoid a 'hard border' on the island of Ireland – that London agreed before the UK left the EU, but has since maintained are unworkable. This note offers links to recent reports and commentaries from some major international think tanks and research institutes on the implications of Brexit and on EU-UK relations.