Brexit: The United Kingdom and the European Union. A Troubled History

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Course Information
Political Science
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 

This new course taught simultaneously at the IES EU Centre in Freiburg, Germany and the IES in London, UK is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of Great Britain’s ever-changing relations with continental Europe.

The course is divided into three parts. Part one, Legacies, explores the political, cultural and economic history of the UK’s relations with Europe. Part two, Negotiating Brexit, examines the political, economic and legal challenges Brexit poses for the UK and the EU. And part three, Challenges and Solutions, analyses the political, social, ideological, and economic factors that underpinned Brexit and European discontent with EU institutions, and the challenges they pose for the rest of the Europe and the world.

This course will offer an account of the competing explanations for the result of the UK’s 23 June 2016 referendum on its membership in the European Union. It will explore the potential outcomes, and examine what possible new relationships could emerge between the UK and the EU. The course will explore what Brexit might mean for the United Kingdom’s constitutional order. Will it result in the independence of Scotland and Northern Ireland? It will also explore how Brexit will affect the United Kingdom’s relation with the Republic of Ireland, the only country with which it shares a border. The course will tackle wider political, economic, and social questions. How will Brexit affect the UK economy? How will it affect trading regimes, income distribution and employment? How will it impact on the UK’s role in the world, and its relationship with the United States? And it will examine whether a post-Brexit Britain might prove to be a model for EU relations with other countries in Europe’s periphery.