The UK and the EU: the whinge in (and out of) the Willows?

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On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom UK voted by 51.9 per cent to leave or "Brexit" the European Union EU. The vote followed a surreal debate in which one group of "eurosceptics" argued the negative case "for" the EU ("project fear"); while a second group promoted a threadbare "Brexit" prospectus, confident that their case would escape scrutiny and that any critics could be dismissed with Imperial swagger ("having one"s cake and eating it!"). Meanwhile, though both sides agreed that "Brussels" had to be "shaken out of its complacency"; Westminster is now cobbling together a strategy to define what "Brexit" might mean. Whatever it may mean, "Brexit" comes at a time when the EU is vulnerable; facing a refugee crisis, Eurozone crisis and Russian aggression. Yet the UK has its own problems inter alia deficit spending, a productivity gap and an "unbalanced" economy. This paper asks whether "Brexit" might have more positive effects for both the UK and the EU, or whether there might be a further "Greek option" which finesses "Brexit" and conciliates the parties to this dysfunctional relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-483
Number of pages21
JournalNew Zealand Universities Law Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2016


  • European Union
  • UK
  • Brexit

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