Most discussion of Brexit’s social aspects has focused on what led to the referendum outcome and its implications for the United Kingdom; the implications for the rest of the EU are less explored. This chapter focuses on the meaning and future of ‘social Europe’ and the interplay between two issues: the broader political economy of social policy in Europe, and the changing balance of social models among the remaining 27 member states. The chapter argues first that without the UK, a preponderance of EU member states will rely on forms of neocorporatism as well as a greater role for the state, potentially changing the essentially regulatory, ‘Eurolegalistic’ approach of EU law in social policy. Second, since much EU social policy is a regulatory outgrowth of economic policy, which is increasingly driven by Eurozone agendas, the EU’s fiscal governance system will build austerity into public policy decisions. Finally, the future of EU social policy will be shaped by the loss of the UK as a pillar of a liberal ‘northern’ block of states, fewer strategic options for Germany and more power for France.
The European Union after Brexit addresses the ways in which Brexit has changed and will change European Union politics: the forces, mechanisms and stakes of an unprecedented transformation of the European polity. How will the EU operate without one of its key diplomatic and international military partners? What will happen to its priorities, internal balance(s) of power, and legislation without the reliably liberal and Eurosceptic United Kingdom? What are the effects of the Brexit negotiations on the EU? In general, what happens when an ‘ever closer union’ founded on a virtuous circle of economic, social, and political integration is called into question? This book is largely positive about the future of the EU after Brexit, but it suggests that the process of European integration has gone into reverse, with Brexit coming amidst other developments that disrupt the optimistic trajectory of integration. Contributors focus on areas spanning foreign policy, political economy, public policy, and citizenship, with chapters covering topics such as international trade, the internal market, freedom of movement, the European legal system, networks, security relations, social Europe and the impact of Brexit on Central and Eastern Europe. Chapters are grounded in comparative politics, political economy, and institutionalist approaches to politics and economics.
Brexit, a major change in EU politics and a diminution of the EU population, economic weight, and prestige, has attracted relatively little European attention, in contrast to the scrutiny it has understandably received in the United Kingdom. This chapter introduces arguments about why the impact of Brexit on the EU will be substantial, setting the stage for contributors to this volume to examine its consequences for the Single Market and economic governance, for the legal order and social construction of the EU, and for the future external orientation and institutional forms of the EU. This chapter also outlines how Brexit will provoke a more fundamental disruption in the ideological climate of the EU, as the most reliably ‘liberal champion’ in the EU departs. Among the themes that emerge across this volume, this chapter notes discussions about whether Brexit will leave the EU with greater integrative potential; whether British intellectual influence in Europe will continue; and whether the EU itself will learn lessons about the viability of austerity and fiscal governance as it seeks to respond to its own challenges of legitimacy.
If scholarship on the European Union has taught us anything, it is that networks and policy communities matter for European integration and for the evolution of policies and politics in the EU. It is not hard to see why Brexit will change the meaning and impact of these networks, given the size, wealth, labor markets, and power as a scientific and research country that the United Kingdom has brought to the EU. This chapter briefly synthesizes the literature on policy communities to identify a few propositions that span it, and then proceeds to examine two case studies from the health policy area. For each case, the chapter examines the role played by the UK; looks at the treatment of external countries such as Switzerland as a gauge of the variables that can counteract exclusion from EU institutions; and assesses changes thus far in agencies and in broader policy directions. The analysis suggests that Brexit will involve the recreation of networks in the EU, and a test of the influence of ideas and intellectual stature, national power, priorities, and individual resources on networks that underpin European integration.