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Date : Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Lecture - Elites and Citizens in Europe: Lessons from Brexit?

Institutional and Political Issues
Date: Monday, 10 December 2018 12:00 - 14:00

Venue: Embassy of Norway - Brussels  |  City: Brussels


As the UK’s negotiations to leave the European Union come to an end and the two partners, the EU-27 on the one hand and the UK on the other, consider how their relationship should develop in future, it is timely to take stock of the UK’s troubled position in the EU and the failure of political elites to persuade citizens of the merits of European integration. The UK’s decision to leave the EU could be seen as the inevitable continuation of its reluctance to engage – from joining late to playing the ‘awkward partner’. Always the outlier, perhaps this should then be seen as a sui generis case, interesting but of little wider import to the 27. In reality, the failure of the UK’s elites – politicians, the media and ‘experts’ – to explain the benefits of European integration over decades, coupled with the casual and complacent insouciance of the Prime Minister of the day, David Cameron, rendered it difficult to win citizens over during the course of a short campaign. While few countries have had such persistent Eurosceptic media or discourse for decades, many of the issues raised in the British debate have echoes elsewhere in the Union. A failure to learn the lessons of the Brexit referendum could lead to an ever-more fractious Union, with elites and citizens more disconnected than ever; a key lesson of Brexit is the need to RECONNECT.

Sandwiches and refreshments will be served before the lecture, beginning at 11:45 a.m. Participation is free, but advance registration is required: https://reconnect-europe.eu/event/lecture-julie-smith/

About Dr. Julie Smith

Baroness Smith of Newnham is a Reader in European Politics at Cambridge University and Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on European Issues in the House of Lords. Dr Julie Smith has extensive experience of European democracy, both academic and practical, as well as significant experience of managing research grants as PI both in POLIS and previously at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Her research focuses on democracy in the EU, European Parliament elections, the UK’s relations with the EU/Brexit and she is currently working on wider issues of the relationships between representative democracy and referendums.


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All Dates

  • Monday, 10 December 2018 12:00 - 14:00

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