Weighing up the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland’s peace process
The potential impact of Brexit on the peace process in Ireland is exceptionally important and is examined in this chapter. It starts by analysing the EU’s contribution to the peace process, noting how joint membership of the EU helped create a framework of cooperation between the UK and Ireland. It then looks at how Brexit has disrupted three delicate balances on which the peace agreement was built: those between the communities in Northern Ireland, those with the Republic of Ireland, and those with the UK.
Economic relations between Ireland and the EU between the crash and Brexit
Patrick Gallagher, Fergal Rhatigan, and Seán Ó Riain
This chapter examines the economic relationship between Ireland and the EU over the decade from the financial crash to Brexit. This discussion is in the context of the globalised nature of the Irish economy. It argues that perceptions shifted from growing unease about the impact of the EU on the Irish economy after the financial crash to a renewed enthusiasm for and commitment to the EU as the primary economic framework for Ireland following Brexit.
This chapter steps back from the chaos of recent British electoral politics to locate the 2019 general election in a wider comparative context. It shows how many of the economic, social and political changes that led to Brexit were by no means exceptional. Deindustrialisation, ageing populations, the underemployment of young people, the rising cost of housing and climate change have affected a wide range of societies. New conflicts have placed strains on existing party systems, and parties across the globe have adapted with varying degrees of success. Nevertheless, the UK’s unique constitutional arrangements and party system continue to make its electoral politics so distinctive. The chapter ends by considering the particular risk of democratic backsliding in a system that has weak checks and balances.
After discussing its foundations in historical institutionalism, this chapter sets out each building block of the framework. It explains ‘critical junctures’ and how they open up political space for foreign policy change. It explains how institutions shape the process, through providing the setting for the decision-making process, and by determining the ‘key actors’ and their power to pursue change. Key actors may reframe the debate, generate new ideas, shed new perspectives on policy issues and attempt to rally support for their perception and policy change. Institutions and the ‘temporal context’ impact on the process of deciding to change policy following a critical juncture. The chapter explains how to measure the change that follows this process. It proposes to assess EU foreign policy change through mapping the level, substance and the ‘directionality’ of change and ends by discussing research design, historical process tracing and evidence.
This book, the latest in the long-running Britain at the Polls series, tells the story of the remarkable 2019 general election and its outcome. As with previous volumes, the book provides general readers, students of British politics and professional political scientists with analyses of key political, economic and social developments, and an assessment of their impact on the election outcome. The book begins with an account of the 2017 Conservative minority government and how parliamentary deadlock thwarted Theresa May’s attempts to deliver on the 2016 Brexit referendum. It then analyses recent developments in the Conservative and Labour parties, as well as longer-term changes in the party system and voters’ values and identities, and how these laid foundations for the election outcome. After explaining why the Conservatives won a decisive majority under Boris Johnson, the book considers both the implications of the electoral realignment exposed by Brexit and the distinctiveness of Britain’s contemporary electoral politics.
Since 2010, five Eurozone governments in economic difficulty have received assistance from international lenders on condition that certain policies specified in the Memoranda of Understanding were implemented. How did negotiations take place in this context? What room for manoeuvre did the governments of these countries have? After conditionality, to what extent were governments willing and able to roll back changes imposed on them by the international lenders? Do we find variation across governments, and, if so, why? This book addresses these questions. It explores the constraints on national executives in the five bailed out countries of the Eurozone during and beyond the crisis (2008–2019). The book’s principal idea is that, despite international market pressure and creditors’ conditionality, governments had some room for manoeuvre during a bailout and were able to advocate, resist, shape or roll back some of the policies demanded by external actors. Under certain circumstances, domestic actors were also able to exploit the constraint of conditionality to their own advantage. The book additionally shows that after a bailout programme governments could use their discretion to reverse measures in order to attain the greatest benefits at a lower cost. It finally explores the determinants of bargaining leverage – and stresses the importance of credibility.
Six things you should know about Eurozone bailouts
Catherine Moury, Stella Ladi, Daniel Cardoso, and Angie Gago
Chapter 7 concludes. We compare countries and their policy fields, and show that our argument ‘travels’ well: even in least likely cases, governments had some leeway to shape the policies adopted under conditionality and to reverse some of these after a bailout. Additionally, we present the comparative results of our database on conditionality and policy reversals during and after conditionality. We finally address the theoretical and policy implications of our findings and discuss their implications for the current economic crisis resulting from the spread of the Coronavirus.
This chapter explains why the Conservatives secured their crushing electoral victory. It explores the flow of voters between parties and the influence of age, social class and education on vote choices. The chapter traces the impact of the Brexit factor in shaping the outcome, especially in former Labour-held but Leave-voting areas (the so-called ‘red wall’ seats). It also emphasises the importance of less visible factors, including social change and the continuing differences between towns and cities. The chapter shows that Brexit in many ways hastened processes that were already under way. Nevertheless, the ideological proximity between parties and voters and perceptions of economic competence in 2019 also influenced the vote, further favouring the Conservative Party.
This chapter develops a typology by first addressing shortcomings in existing conceptualisations of policy change when applied to EU foreign policy change. The starting point is the different kinds of policy change observed in Chapters 2 and 3. This chapter identifies changes which are difficult to identify using cumulative typologies that divide policy change into progressive ‘orders’, either because first-order and second-order policy changes – which ought to precede or accompany third-order ‘paradigm changes’ – are absent, or because they constitute a different kind of paradigm change, where the policy rationale is questioned and modified without policy undergoing substantive change. It argues that two categories – symbolic change and constructive ambiguity – complement the policy change outputs for the EU, and both institutional plasticity and temporal contingency affect which outcome is more likely. This chapter suggests dividing the temporal context into three registers: structural (decades, centuries), conjunctural (years) and liminal (days, weeks).
This book provides a single, dedicated, analytical framework for investigating and explaining how the EU adapts its foreign policy after crises, which can be applied to the formal, institutional realm of EU foreign policiesand the ‘softer’ areas of EU external action. We need to assess first the institutional ‘plasticity’ of the policy area: how rules and institutions constrain the key decision-makers during the process of change, but also how the institutions are moulded by decision-makers. Institutions can give form and can take form. The concept of plasticity holds special value in European studies. A second important building block of this analytical framework is temporal contingency, meaning that the policy reform was not logically necessary but has come about owing to events, not all of them foreseen or expected. The conclusion summarises a revised typology of EU foreign policy change, outlining its potential and suggesting avenues for future research.