Brexit: Message from Dahrendorf Forum’s Academic Co-Directors

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Dear Dahrendorf Forum Fellows and Friends,

A week ago a majority of British citizens voted in favour of leaving the European Union. The outcome of this referendum has cast a shadow over Europe. Britain and the EU are likely to go through two years of difficult negotiations on a ‘divorce’ settlement under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, while populist movements in other member states will be encouraged to press for their own referendums. The Union, still reeling from the fallout of the Eurozone and migration crisis, will feel the need to rethink its approach to European integration. EU reform, from the common currency institutions to the Schengen Agreement and common foreign policy, is clearly on the agenda. The pro-Brexit vote has thrust the continent into a deep crisis, but we believe it also offers an opportunity to reinvigorate the European idea and put future European integration and co-operation on a sounder footing.

In our view, the UK’s decision to seek an exit from the EU is regrettable. While the outcome of the Brexit negotiation process is as yet uncertain, it is likely to damage both sides – Britain and the EU. One thing is clear to us, however. Whatever the result of the negotiations, Britain has always been a European country and it will always be. And we expect British-German collaboration to continue to shape the future of the continent. We are committed to ensuring that the Dahrendorf Forum will play a vital role in this regard.

We believe that the Dahrendorf Forum’s mission – to provide a space for debating Europe’s future and for connecting social science research with wider public policy concerns – is more important than ever before. The Dahrendorf Forum invites critical but constructive reflection on European integration, and it keeps wider European and global trends in view when discussing developments in the EU. As the UK referendum campaigns have shown, we need to engage and communicate more effectively with policy-makers and society at large.

In the current project cycle and at the recent Dahrendorf Symposium in May 2016, our focus has been on the challenges that Europe faces in its external relations. We will consider the impact that Brexit might have in forthcoming events and publications.

Our activities continue throughout the year. You may find the latest Dahrendorf blog posts and analysis on our website www.dahrendorf-forum.eu.

We thank you for your continued support of our work.

Helmut K. Anheier
Dean and President at the Hertie School of Governance
Dahrendorf Academic Co-Director

Robert Falkner
Associate Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science
Dahrendorf Academic Co-Director

The opinions expressed in this blog contribution are entirely those of the author and do not represent the positions of the Dahrendorf Forum or any of its hosts Hertie School of Governance, London School of Economics and Political Science and Stiftung Mercator.

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