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Brexit and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement: Implications for Internal and External EU Differentiation


Brexit represents a unique process of European disintegration. It has introduced a new model of external differentiation that is likely to have future implications for existing differentiation both within the EU and between the EU and third countries. An analysis of the new thin, distant and unfinished EU-UK relationship points to likely growing divergence over time. The technocratic governance structure of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is strained by high-friction politics, and its effectiveness, sustainability and legitimacy remain highly contested. The TCA is a testament to a more hard-line EU approach towards third countries, attempting to signal strongly that membership matters, with flexibilities only benefitting those that sign up to the EU’s core principles.
Keywords: Brexit; differentiated integration; Trade and Cooperation Agreement; EU-UK relationship

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