chapter  21
12 Pages

Brexit and the European Union

Hanging in the balance?
ByMads Dagnis Jensen, Holly Snaith

Power is central to any understanding of the European Union (EU). It is a system that has not only been built on the pre-existing power of the member states but also one in which the main purpose is to transform the exercise of this power. This chapter develops an analytical framework to study the shifts in power that may occur because of Brexit, using an approach that tackles in turn the micro, meso and macro levels of analysis. It outlines an introduction to Britain's historically fractious relationship with the EU as a means of demonstrating where key policy divisions lie and suggesting where Britain's exit will leave the greatest strategic vacuums. Both material and ideational factors have been significant in conditioning the UK's relationship – and occasional culture clashes – with the EU. In terms of administrative and political arrangements within the institutions, the Parliament and Council are likely to be significantly more affected than the European Council or Commission.