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Call for papers for the NEXTEUK Kick-off Conference

2 February 2020

Call for Papers 

NEXTEUK2020 29-30 June 2020, London

“Brexit and European integration: political, policy and legitimacy challenges”


International conference

The Centre for European Research, a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is pleased to announce its first international conference as part of the NEXTEUK Project on the future of UK-EU relations, co-funded by the Erasmus + Jean Monnet Programme. This two-day conference will take place in London on 29 and 30 June 2020. It will gather academics from various disciplines and policy experts with a focus on the multi-faceted components and processes of Brexit from a European integration perspective. NEXTEUK offers a structured space for academic and policy reflections on the future of the EU-UK relationship and explores new avenues for enhanced academic and policy cooperation between the EU and the UK. The academic programme will be complemented by keynotes and a policy roundtable, and will provide a networking opportunity between policymakers and academics at all stages of their career.

Key topics driving this conference include, but are not limited to:

  • A “special relationship”? The successes and failures of EU-UK relations
  • What role have Euroscepticism and populism played in EU-UK relations?
  • What are the consequences for the UK to leave the EU?
  • Is the process of the withdrawal of Article 50 appropriate?
  • What are the roles of national and European parliaments in the Brexit process?

Submission details: paper and/or panel proposals are to be sent by 6 March 2020 (23.59) to Dr Sarah Wolff ( and to Dr Agathe Piquet ( Abstracts should be no more than 300 words long and have 3 to 5 five key words including also the names and affiliations of their authors. Acceptance answers will be given towards the end of March/early April and papers will have to be sent in by 8 June 2020. There is limited funding available for travel

and accommodation for successful applicants. Young scholars who have not yet or have just completed their PhD as well as early-career colleagues are strongly encouraged to participate. As the members of this project are deeply engaged in the formulation of policy-relevant recommendations, all participants will be encouraged to contribute to the NEXTEUK blog and Working paper series. The best presentations will be selected to be included in a special issue.

If you have any questions or queries regarding this conference, please contact Dr Agathe Piquet (

Further details about each potential theme:

A “special relationship”? The successes and failures of EU-UK relations

The relation between the EU and the UK has commonly been described as “rocky”, echoing the absence of linearity. Such a vision makes sense taking into account the British ambivalences towards the European construction, as reflected by its initial refusal to join the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, followed by its application to the European Economic Communities (ECC) ten years later. Since the UK’s adhesion to the EU, the UK has benefited from a special status and from “opt-outs” or derogation clauses to various EU policies. Analyses of the ‘exceptional’ nature of this relationship, its successes and failures are particularly welcome, whether, among other things, on the UK’s behaviour as a member of the EU, its sectoral contributions to EU policies (e.g. in trade, defence, internal security) and institutional and formal setting; on the role of the EU in reforming UK domestic policies (for instance, environment and social policies, achievement of peace in Northern Ireland); on British citizens’ perceptions of European integration.

What role have Euroscepticism and populism played in EU-UK relations?

Whereas in 1975 a part of Labour MPs asked for the UK’s withdrawal from the ECC, 67% of British citizens voted in favour of remaining. What has changed since then? This question invites thoughts among others on British Euroscepticism, its roots and its social and geographical dissemination; on its specificity compared to Euroscepticism existing in other countries; on the role played by Eurosceptic and populist parties, political personalities, and the media; on the Brexit campaign and its main arguments.

The EU without the UK: an opportunity or a risk for the European construction?

This question offers to gather presentations on the future of the EU without the UK and could raise further questions. Considering British reluctance towards European integration and especially ‘supranationalisation’, could Brexit be thought as an opportunity for European construction? Could some major changes be expected towards an acceleration and/or deepening of the integration without the ‘British brake’? Or, on the contrary, could Brexit endanger the EU by triggering the will for departure of other Member States? Or, to a lesser extent, could it lead national and European decision-makers towards a more intergovernmental Union to prevent such disintegration? Will the alliances and equilibrium between Member States change after the exit of one of the biggest Member States? Could the EU be weakened without the British power?

More sectoral perspectives focused on the potential evolution of a European public policy or domain without the UK are also welcome.

What are the consequences for the UK to leave the EU?

While many arguments of the “Leave” Campaigners were built around the need for the UK to get free from the EU’s constraints, this section invites contributions analysing for instance the future content and orientations of British public policies after Brexit; British unity facing nationalist movements; the Irish situation; future British economic growth; the domestic sectoral developments following reduced migratory flows; British internal security etc. 

Is the process of the withdrawal of Article 50 appropriate?

Thoughts on Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union are welcome, among other things on its history and its drafting during the negotiations to understand its underlying goals. More broadly, papers could further the debate on the legitimacy of the unilateral decision from a State to withdraw without consulting the remaining States which would be directly impacted. Other contributions could look into the current reflections on the need to rewrite this article, judged by some commentators as unclear or too difficult to implement, especially in regards to the short period of time (two years) set for the whole process of negotiations. Papers could also open the “black box” of the negotiation process, focusing on actors and institutions, on their interactions etc.

What are the roles of national and European parliaments in the Brexit process?

This last question invites observations on the role played by the European Parliament in the Brexit process, through analyses, for instance, of the functioning of the dedicated Steering Committee, of its main orientations, of its input to European decision-making, of its working relations with the ad hoc Council Working Party on Article 50 and the Task Force of the European Commission etc. Additional papers could focus on the British Parliament, on the fluctuant coalitions and dividing lines within the House of Commons, on the contributions from the House of Lords, on the potentially new forms of relationship between the British government and Parliament. Broader and comparative perspectives, e.g. on the role played by other European parliaments in the definition of their respective national position during negotiations, are also welcom



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