Despite the UK’s departure from the EU being confirmed in 2020 and fully implemented at the start of this year, there are still some hoping the country will one day rejoin the bloc. Foreign policy expert, Nick Hopkinson, laid out a route back into the bloc for the UK just tens days after the Brexit trade deal was implemented on January 1. He argued in his column for the New European magazine that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has shown during the pandemic that “the politicians who lied to us about Brexit have demonstrated they cannot be trusted”. He therefore said that in due course a pro-European Government will be elected.
Mr Hopkinson admitted, however, the EU would not offer much generosity to the UK during negotiations to rejoin.
He said: “Just because we are a former member state which decided we no longer wanted to play by the club rules (which we shaped) does not automatically entitle us to rejoin, let alone go to the front of the queue of six other candidate states already lining up.”
Mr Hopkinson also said the UK would have to naturally become once again integrated with EU laws and standards.
But he also argued Brexit will accelerate the break up of the Union, meaning smaller parts of the UK such as Scotland could rejoin, as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon aims to do.
Scottish affairs expert and academic, Anthony Salamone, argued in an article for the London School of Economics that the UK would have to adopt commit to the euro if Britain rejoined.
He said: “The EU would also expect any application to be on the understanding that the UK would be a more normal member state.
“The UK’s major concessions during its first EU membership – the budget rebate, opt-outs on the euro and Schengen, special justice and home affairs arrangements – would not be on offer.
“The UK was largely responsible for the opt-out culture, which is still bemoaned by much of the Brussels establishment. The European Commission is currently seeking to eliminate all budget rebates (following from the UK, other countries have rebates and ‘rebates on rebates’) for the next Multi-annual Financial Framework.”
Last month, BetFair put the odds of the UK rejoining the EU by 2026 at 5/1.
By contrast, the firm believes there is a 10/1 chance of Brexit not being reversed by this point, a view reflected in polling on the rejoin movement.
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He said: “I can recognise some people in the UK think the good old days of the empire can come back, and that Britannia can rule again. But this is over.
“The British people will soon realise they only represent one percent of the world population, and no, they don’t have an empire any longer.
“The only way to have influence is to be a part of something bigger.”