Brexit Uncertainty, Scotland and the UK in 2018. Four Scenarios

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Series Details No.5, October 2017
Publication Date 13/10/2017
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The Scottish Centre on European Relations (SCER) was launched in March 2017 as a new, independent and unaligned Scottish EU think tank.

SCER) aimed to inform, debate, and provide up-to-the-minute, high-quality research and analysis of European Union developments and challenges. It would focus on pan-EU issues as well as having a particular focus on Scotland’s EU interests and policies.

SCER would provide in-depth, impartial research and analysis on Brexit – looking at EU27, UK and Scottish interests and debates. SCER would also carry out up-to-the minute policy research on a range of key European Union issues including the future of the EU at a time of multiple challenges; the migration and refugee crisis, and the EU’s turbulent neighbourhood.
If Brexit stays on track, and keeps to timetable, then by next autumn an exit deal will have been done. This will include an outline of the future UK-EU27 relationship – though detailed negotiation on that will be for the years after Brexit in March 2019.

But the Brexit process is unlikely to stay smoothly on track. The path to autumn 2018 looks murky indeed – political and economic uncertainty and instability loom. Few would place bets on Theresa May still being prime minister by then. But if not her, then who? Or will the Conservative government collapse before next autumn, with what implications for the Brexit process?

Uncertainty will remain the watchword for now. A smooth path to autumn 2018 does not look likely. Scenarios abound as to how the next year could unfold. As well as deep political instability and uncertainty within the UK, there are various routes the Brexit talks could take – with the EU27’s stance centre-stage alongside the UK’s uncertain politics. And how much, and how obvious, economic fallout there is in the coming months will also feed strongly into the mix.

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Related Links
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union
SCER: Policy Paper, No.3, June 2017: The Brexit Timetable. Key Questions and Challenges for the UK and Scotland
ESO: Find further information on Scotland and Brexit after the June 2016 referendum

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