Fellow Talk
Do 08 Jun 2023 | 15:00–16:00

The Bridge Between Brexit and the EU Values Crisis: Withdrawal, Accession, and Amendment

Fellow Talk by Oliver Garner (Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law), chaired by Silvia Steininger (MPIL)

In the last decade the EU has faced the crises of legitimate Member State withdrawal by the United Kingdom, and illegitimate resistance to its foundational values by “illiberal” Member States. Concurrently, conflict in Eastern Europe has prompted re-evaluation of accession via Article 49 TEU, and the Conference on the Future of Europe has reignited calls for Treaty revision via Article 48. At this unique juncture for European constitutionalism, this project will investigate whether proposed reforms to the EU’s withdrawal clause and opt-out Protocols could prevent further illegitimate disintegration. Constitutional resistance to further integration by “illiberal” states may lead to opt-outs similar to those negotiated by the United Kingdom during membership. New mechanisms should be considered to accommodate and ameliorate such disruption. If the resistance becomes terminal, a reformed Article 50 TEU could facilitate an existential choice between EU membership and “illiberal democracy”. The project will scrutinise whether the EU should pursue an integrated gradient of responses to constitutional resistance. The ultimate question is whether it is worth risking the nature of the EU as a “voluntary association of sovereign states” in order to secure the supranational polity in the interests of individuals as EU citizens.

Dr Oliver Garner is a Maurice Wohl Research Fellow in European Rule of Law at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, BIICL. He is also Editor of the Review of Democracy at the CEU Democracy Institute and an incoming Research Fellow. Oliver received his Ph.D. and LL.M. degrees from the European University Institute, and a BA in law from the University of Oxford. His research considers constitutionalism, with specific engagement on withdrawal from the EU, differentiation, EU citizenship, and judicial primacy conflicts. He has published in the European Law Review, the Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies, the International Journal of Constitutional Law, and the European Journal of Legal Studies. Oliver contributes to online platforms including Verfassungsblog, the UK Constitutional Law Association Blog, and RevDem. His analysis has appeared in media outlets including Politico, LBC Radio, and GB News. Bingham Centre reports co-authored by Oliver have been cited by Members of Parliament, and he has contributed written and oral evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees working on EU issues. Most recently his oral evidence on retained EU law was directly quoted in the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee’s inquiry report and informed recommendations presented to the UK Government.

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