The debate on the position of the United Kingdom in the European Union, as it has evolved over the last three years, is based on the logic of withdrawal (Brexit). The United Kingdom under the pretence of a potential withdrawal is now trying to exert strategic influence over the future direction of the EU, thereby rendering itself a vigorous player in European integration process (Brexin). Therefore, while the public debate continues to focus on the risk of a Brexit, a more detailed analysis invites us to mainly consider a trend that is likely to spread towards a change of the European policy mix, and therefore affecting the course and the nature of European integration, on the basis of the British claims (Brexin), as a prerequisite for the UK to stay within the EU. This article first analyzes the characteristics of this renewed British Euroscepticism which is developing into a domestic political environment with strong centrifugal tendencies (British neo-Euroscepticism). Then it lists the political demands raised by the United Kingdom to the European Union and discusses whether they challenge fundamental principles of the European acquis (Brexin). Finally, it provides theoretical explanations stemming from intergovernmental analysis in order to define the strategy of Brexin as well as to assess the prospects of the Euro-British bargain within a context now where transnational support for effective federal integration is at its lowest (inherent Euroscepticism).

Working Paper 62/2015: British neo-euroscepticism in European governance: The rhetoric of Brexit and the strategy of Brexin

Authors: Dr Filippa Chatzistavrou and Mr George Dikaios