Former PM’s of Italy and Finland welcome new book: “Brexit and the Future of the European Union”
The timeliness of this new book further resonates here in Ireland, as Irish officials are due to meet with senior figures in the European Commission today to ensure future legislation considers the impact on Northern Ireland as part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
DCU Brexit Institute
Published by Oxford Press, DCU President Daire Keogh welcomed the publication not only in terms of scholarship but also as a reflection of the strength the university has built up in the area of European Law. DCU’s Brexit Institute (founded by Professor Fabbrini) was the first institute of its kind in Europe to study Brexit and its implications and our Masters in European Law and Policy has established a strong reputation in a short number of years.
Interesting EU debate
The new book stoked interesting debate on key issues facing the EU in a post-Brexit world including the recently approved Next Generation EU recovery fund (coupled with the EU’s long term budget) which is the largest stimulus package ever financed through the EU budget to help rebuild a post-COVID-19 Europe.
Impact of Brexit
Attending the recent book launch, the former Prime Minister of Italy Enrico Letta praised the book for addressing the impact of Brexit on the Future of Europe and he also pointed out positive outcomes from Brexit such as the Next Generation EU recovery fund worth €760bn.
Future of Europe
Mr Letta said: “There was a sort of underestimation of the impact of Brexit for the future of Europe and I think this impact is enormous with some negative and positive aspects. Brexit has shown the importance of solidarity among members states and I think Ireland deserved solidarity from the member states. In a union we are stronger together. You are not alone whether you are Germany, Italy, Malta or Ireland – this was a big signal and an important signal for EU member states.”
Furthermore, Mr Letta believes the Next Generation EU fund is the most revolutionary achievement in the European history after the euro and the enlargement, which in his view, would not have been approved if the UK had remained in the EU.
Brexit, a travesty
While Former Prime Minister of Finland Alex Stubbs didn’t hold back on his view of Brexit, he also maintained that the United Kingdom was quite pro-European in practice despite other perceptions.
Mr Stubbs said: “I think this is the first book that brings in the future of Europe from the perspective of Brexit. Brexit was a travesty. But there are good things and bad things. We lost a country that was very supportive of the internal market, free trade and economic reform. At the same time Britain was often put into an anti-European light for the wrong reasons. If you judge pro-European versus anti-European based on freedom of movement of goods, services and money and even free movement of people – Britain was rather pro-European.”
Brexit Withdrawal Agreement
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern also joined the book launch discussion and expressed concern about the risk of turning public opinion against the EU if it fails to address the underlying problem in relation to the hybrid status of Northern Ireland under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
- Watch the full webinar discussion and launch of ‘Brexit and the Future of the European Union’ here.