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Sir Ivan Rogers: voice of reason in fraught diplomatic environment

It was reported yesterday that Sir Ivan Rogers - the UK's top diplomat in Brussels - has resigned from his role, ahead of the Brexit negotiaions.

Commenting on Sir Ivan’s resignation, Dr Megan Dee, Associate Research Fellow at the University of Warwick, says:


“Sir Ivan has been a voice of reason and of calm in a highly strained, and increasingly fraught diplomatic environment. He has been extremely well respected in Brussels and will undoubtedly leave a rather large gap in the UK’s negotiating team as we move towards the invocation of Article 50 and beyond. Whilst I am sure his resignation is largely pragmatic - enabling his successor to get their feet under the table before negotiations fully commence –it does also introduce yet more uncertainty and chaos at a time when diplomacy, experience, and cool-heads are required.

“Sir Ivan’s parting letter highlights just some of the challenges facing the British Government in negotiating ‘Brexit’. This is not a clear-cut negotiation, whether for a ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ Brexit. Whatever the priorities, this is going to be a highly complex, multi-levelled, and multi-lateral negotiation that will require the UK take into consideration not only the views, interests, and priority objectives of the other EU-27 Member States, but also of the Commission, Council and European Parliament who have institutional interests of their own.

“Sir Ivan has highlighted just some of the realities of how the prospects of Brexit are being viewed from Brussels, with many of the UK’s soon to be main negotiation partners scratching their heads not simply at the UK’s referendum decision to exit the EU, but at the subsequent chaos that has ensued as the British Government has scrambled to fill key posts, and come up with any clear path for delivering its exit strategy. If the British Government does not take these interests into consideration now it will be in for a shock once Article 50 is invoked and the magnitude of the actual negotiating task ahead of it comes into sharp focus.

“For now the British Government must decide what its negotiation mandate will even be. For the days ahead however, addressing the interests and concerns of its negotiation partners must become a key priority if the UK is to stand any chance not only of successfully managing the complexities of multilateral negotiation that the EU has itself become so adept at, but at actually delivering an exit agreement that can both serve British interests and save the Government from getting mud on its face.”

Further information contact:

Luke Walton, International Press Officer

+44 (0) 7824 540 863

+44 (0) 2476 150 868

L dot Walton dot 1 at warwick dot ac dot uk