Pascal Lamy: Brexit – What’s Next?
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Pascal Lamy: Brexit – What’s Next?
29 April @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
As the prospect of British withdrawal from the European Union has been pushed back beyond the original date (29th March 2019), Brexit has created more and more uncertainty. By relying on his extensive experience and expertise, the former European Commissioner for Trade and Director-General of the World Trade Organization Pascal Lamy will present his views Britain’s divorce with the EU, the future of political and trade relationship between the two actors and his vision for a way forward after Brexit.
By kind invitation of Suella Bravermann MP, the Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to join Pascal Lamy in a fascinating and timely discussion on what the future holds for the UK and the EU post-Brexit.
From September 2005 to August 2013, Pascal Lamy served for two consecutive terms as General Director – of the World Trade Organization (WTO). A committed European and member of the French Socialist party, he was Chief of Staff for the President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors from 1985 to 1994. He then joined the Credit Lyonnais as CEO until 1999, before returning to Brussels as European Trade Commissioner until 2004. Mr. Lamy holds degrees from HEC School of Management, the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (IEP) and the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA).
Suella Bravermann MP is a British Conservative Party politician. She was first elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Fareham in 2015 and was re-elected at the 2017 snap election. Braverman read Law at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and completed a Master’s degree in European and French Law at Pantheon-Sorbonne University. Braverman campaigned to leave the European Union in the 2016 EU membership referendum, a majority (55%) of votes in her constituency were for leaving. She was Chair of the European Research Group, a pro-Leave group of Conservative MPs, until her promotion to ministerial office.
Priority will be given to MPs, Peers and members of HJS.
On the 29th of April the Henry Jackson Society hosted a discussion with Pascal Lamy entitled: ‘Brexit: What’s Next’. Mr. Lamy was joined by Alan Mendoza and Suella Braverman MP, who chaired the event. Mrs. Braverman opened the discussion by welcoming Mr. Lamy, noting the huge uncertainty that the UK faces and the seeming irrelevance of the traditional left right boundaries in the wake of Brexit.
Pascal Lamy began his remarks by asserting that Brexit was, in his words, ‘a mess’, and that moving forward necessitates understanding why it is such a mess. Lamy argued that the current situation is due to a fundamental misunderstanding in the UK, and to some extent on the continent, about the trade-offs that Brexit implies. The UK has always been attracted to the continent for economic reasons while being repulsed politically. This is problematic because the progressive integration of Europe economically has made it much more difficult to exit politically.
The UK assumption has been that with Brexit there would be economic sacrifices for political gains, however Mr. Lamy argued that this was not possible due to economics and politics being more closely intertwined than ever before. Brexit is a mess because there is no answer to the question ‘how can we exit politically as much as possible and economically as little as possible?’ As a result the UK position is that ‘we’re leaving but we don’t know how much we’re leaving’. As a result, a Brexit in name only is likely. Lamy went on to note that he believed it was possible that the Prime Minister would get her deal passed through Parliament before the European Parliamentary elections, the reason being that if polls are to be believed ‘things are not looking good for the Tories’.
Lamy went on to argue that the key debate over Brexit was not between the UK and the EU, but between leavers and remainers within the UK. The UK is not arguing with Brussels, but with itself. The British must decide how much it is willing to be integrated with Europe politically and economically before they can understand what Brexit is really about. There is therefore a need for compromise within the UK before any satisfactory agreement with Brussels can be reached. This is difficult because the British political system operates, in Lamy’s words, as a ‘winner takes all system’. If the UK is to Brexit successfully, it must learn to compromise.
Mr. Lamy finished by noting that there are other options besides Brexit happening but had decided ‘within the realm of the Henry Jackson Society’ to ‘stick to that option’. The event then closed with a round of questions and answers.
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