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One year countdown to Brexit begins - expert comment

Theresa May has pledged to keep the UK "strong and united" after Brexit as she marks a year to go until the UK's departure from the European Union. Dr. Andreas Kokkinis, Assistant Professor, Warwick Law School says it's becoming clearer how Brexit will affect the UK.

"One year before the date of Brexit it seems that some clarity has been given by the UK government regarding the nature of the relationship of the UK with the EU after Brexit. The government has accepted that UK firms will not have the same degree of access to the Single Market and in particular that financial firms will lose passporting rights.

"At the same time, it has conceded that to ensure the highest possible level of access UK law will have to mirror future EU law as part of regulatory alignment. In the case of Northern Ireland the decision of the government to leave the Customs Union has made it inevitable that Northern Ireland will have to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union while the rest of the UK will not. This jeopardises peace in Northern Ireland and generates questions for Scotland.

"So, a lot of things have become clearer. The cost to firms is now apparent: reduced access to EU markets. The risk to the constitutional settlement of the UK as a union of four countries is also visible. Furthermore, the promise of taking back control of ‘our laws’ has been proved impossible to deliver in view of the economic realities. Equally the idea of the UK entering into extensive bilateral free trade treaties with all sorts of countries loses credibility if one realises that it is the EU as a whole that is currently by way of achieving an impressive network of such treaties, access to which the UK will lose when it leaves the EU.

"What is then the benefit that will result from Brexit and is it worth the cost to government departments, the economy and the political stability of all parts of the UK? Surely the only remaining ‘benefit’ – for those who see it as such – is ending free movement of people, something that UK businesses are extremely worried about. One year before Brexit actually happens it is time for UK citizens to sit back and reflect: is ending free movement of people from the EU really in the national interest of the UK and, even if it is, is it worth the economic and political cost of Brexit?"

Dr. Andreas Kokkinis, Assistant Professor, Warwick Law School

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Nicola Jones,

Media Relations Manager

University of Warwick