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The EU Experience of Trade and Economic Partnership with Third Countries and its Applicability to the UK under Brexit

Student: Timofei Zubashev

Supervisor: Nataliya Kondratyeva

Faculty: Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs

Educational Programme: International Relations (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2020

Relations between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the European Union are characterized by a high level of international cooperation. This is due not only to geographical proximity and a common historical heritage, but also to Britain’s almost half-century participation in the regional integration of the European Union, during which the political and even more economic relations of the parties reached a new level. The relationship of London with Brussels throughout the history of the UK’s participation in European integration has been characterized by a “complex partnership”. Great Britain has always participated in European integration on special conditions - this was manifested in the desire of the latter to minimize the costs of transferring national sovereignty to a supranational level. Thus, Great Britain demanded for itself exceptions to the general provisions of the treaties, did not join the currency union and the Schengen agreement, and impeded the process of political integration. Despite the existing contradictions in the views on the future of European integration between London and Brussels, the main driver of maintaining British EU membership remained the economic factor - access to the common market of the European Union. Despite the high level of economic interdependence with the European Union, according to the results of the referendum of June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom began preparations for secession from the European Union on the basis of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. This process of "divorce" of the United Kingdom and the European Union was called Brexit. Although the process of UK exit from the EU began in 2016, it was not until January 31, 2020 that the United Kingdom withdrew from the EU. Now the UK is in a transitional period, which should end on December 31, 2020, if the parties do not decide to extend it. Nevertheless, the format of future trade and economic relations between the two largest world economies has not yet been determined. A squeamish, of course, will lead both to changes in relations between partners, and to their internal transformation. The exit of Great Britain, one of the strongest participants in the integration association, will change the balance of power within the European Union. The experience of the development of Great Britain outside the integration association will affect the future approach to the integration of other EU members, given the growth of Euro-skeptic sentiments within the Union. As for Great Britain, Brexit will become a new chapter in British history and will entail changes in domestic and foreign policy. In this regard, it is important to study the future trade and economic partnership of the EU and the UK and its features.

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