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17.09.2019 00:00

In Part I, Andrew Duff reports on the latest state of play. A deal is still possible before 31 October. Adjustments can be made to the Irish backstop. The Political Declaration, which is now proving to be more of a hindrance than help, can be dropped. If no deal looks possible the UK will have to plead for a further extension - although the British will need a stronger justification for extension than they have advanced so far. If minded to extend, the European Council should set stricter conditions than they did in March.

In Part II, Duff recalls how the Article 50 process has played out so far. He describes how the guidelines have evolved flexibly while the underlying principles have been retained. He argues that the EU institutions have emerged stronger from the Brexit experience, and the EU as a whole has gained a sharper sense of self-identity -  “a constitutional moment”.

In Part III, Duff examines the options for a future association agreement between the UK and the EU. On balance, he imagines that the UK may one day wish to re-join the Union. But this will not be welcomed by the EU unless the UK adopts a bipartisan approach to Britain’s European policy, based on the introduction of a system of proportional representation for the House of Commons.

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