Tribune européenne

Géopolitique - Institutions

Brexit and Greater Europe

In one year’s time, in March 2019, the negotiations to finalize the UK’s exit from the European Union (Brexit) should have reached an end. This is, admittedly, a short timeline, but is it set in stone and what consequences are to be expected from it? Jean-François Drevet looks here at three questions directly or indirectly linked to Brexit: the hypothesis of the UK reversing its decision if it does not achieve a satisfactory agreement on leaving the EU; the consequences of Brexit for the EU’s internal relations and, in particular, the real, unexpected cohesion of the 27 other members of the Union in the current negotiations; and lastly the clarification that follows from this with regard to the EU’s relations with its periphery. Whatever the outcome of Brexit, one thing is sure. It will have moved things on and contributed to a degree of revitalization within the European Union.


Institutions - Territoires, réseaux

Decentralization and Regional Development

Quite apart from its economic and commercial consequences, the 2016 decision by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU) has also shown up the role the EU has played in keeping a lid on certain territorial disputes and demands for independence. Without second-guessing the details of Brexit implementation that will emerge from the current negotiations between the two parties, Futuribles has decided to examine these questions of territorial organization by way of a dossier covering not only the United Kingdom (where Brexit could change the rules of the game), but also two largely decentralized states, Spain and Germany.

In this dossier, Jean-François Drevet examines the specific situation of the UK. After recalling how the country has recently decentralized power (devolution) to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, he highlights the particular case of England, which is struggling to find its place in this decentralized arrangement, and the dilemmas this produces where some decision-making is concerned. Most importantly, he recalls why this regional organization was adopted — mainly to respond to the economic crisis that was hitting some regions more severely than others — and the limits (particularly budgetary) it is running up against. Regional development remains very unequal in the country and socio-economic disparities between the London region and areas of high unemployment persist. These regional disparities also had a hand in the Brexit vote (with the EU playing its now classic role as scapegoat). Unfortunately, the implementation of Brexit will probably not have the positive consequences the citizens are hoping for, because of the loss of some European funding and a possible strengthening of dependence on the Treasury, if not indeed a potential revival of aspirations to independence in Northern Ireland or Scotland.

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The (Dis)United Kingdom and its Borders

Following the British referendum of June 2016, which saw a majority of votes cast in favour of Brexit, on 29 March 2017 Article 50 of the European Union (EU) Treaty was triggered in order to settle the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU. London has two years to work with the 27 other member countries on the UK’s effective exit from the Union.

Above and beyond its economic and social consequences, which have received copious mention and comment, Brexit could also lead to a return of conflict in Europe, as is highlighted in this column by Jean-François Drevet. One of the challenges the EU has risen to most effectively since its creation has undoubtedly been the maintenance of peace on the European continent, yet that pertains not only to relations between the founder members (beginning with France, Italy and Germany) but also to the settling of a number of territorial disputes involving the United Kingdom, both in its multi-national structure and in its relations with other European states. Brexit could revive a number of these conflicts which EU membership had helped to ease — particularly disputes over Cyprus, Gibraltar and Northern Ireland. This point, illustrated in this column, is one that British and European negotiators will have to keep in mind when the details of the UK’s exit are being worked out.



Future Proof : Britain in the 2020s

Future Proof: Britain in the 2020s

À l’heure où le Royaume-Uni négocie les conditions de sa sortie de l’Union européenne, d’importants changements structurels, à la fois économiques, technologiques et sociaux, risquent d’affecter profondément le pays dans la décennie à venir. Dans ce rapport de l’Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), Mathew Lawrence identifie d’abord cinq tendances lourdes qui guideront la décennie 2020, avant de présenter dix grands défis auxquels le Royaume-Uni devra répondre à l’horizon 2030. Selon Mathew Lawrence ...

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Tribune européenne

Géopolitique - Institutions

The Geopolitics of Brexit: The Risks of Isolation

On 23 June 2016, 51.9 % of votes cast in the British referendum were for Brexit or, in other words, for the UK’s departure from the European Union. Since then, new Prime Minister Theresa May has been making preparations to negotiate the terms of that exit which, apart from its economic consequences, will also have a significant geopolitical impact for the country.

It is these geopolitical consequences Jean-François Drevet considers in his column, arguing that if the British believe they are taking back control of their international affairs, they might well be disappointed. So far as the Commonwealth is concerned, the UK is no longer the major partner it was in the 1970s, the USA and China having both overtaken it in terms of trade. And some Commonwealth members even fear the consequences of Brexit for their own economies. When it comes to the United States under a Trump administration, it isn’t at all clear that it sees its political or economic interests as lying in a UK withdrawal from the EU. As for the prospect, hinted at by the UK government, of turning the country into a European offshore tax haven, that idea has not as yet been sufficient to reassure British financial circles. And lastly, internal discord generated by the Brexit decision (in Scotland and Northern Ireland) isn’t likely to make the government’s task any easier. As Jean-François Drevet rightly concludes, Europe is scarcely any easier to dismantle than it has been to build!


Géopolitique - Institutions

Is Brexit Inevitable?

As a pendant to the current European column on the possible geopolitical consequences of Brexit, Futuribles is also publishing this analysis of Brexit seen, as it were, from the inside, asking how the UK government and political parties see exit from the EU and how the outcome of the negotiations is regarded – or might be regarded – by British citizens? Derek Martin reminds us, first of all, of the Brexit referendum’s failings in terms of democratic representativeness and the doubts to which that gives rise regarding the real will of the British people to leave the Union. After presenting the two possible routes argued for by the Brexiteers (“hard” v. “soft” Brexit), and their prospects of success in the negotiations with the EU, Martin shows what disillusionments might arise for the “soft” Brexiteers within the various British political formations. A situation which, as he sees it, might make it possible to reshuffle the deck and open the door to a reversal of the Brexit decision in one of a range of possible ways that he outlines.

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Économie, emploi - Géopolitique

Brexit: Is it Done and Dusted?

On 23 June, 51.9 % of British voters opted for “Brexit”, the UK’s exit from the European Union. Following that vote, Prime Minister David Cameron handed over the premiership to Theresa May, which means that she will be responsible for negotiating the conditions of that exit with her future European ex-partners. It is a negotiation that appears tricky since, as Jean-François Drevet shows in this column, the consequences of Brexit hardly seem likely to turn out very positive for the UK, either economically or in terms of social and regional cohesion. As far as the EU is concerned, the fact of going back down to 27 members and no longer being faced with recurrent obstruction from Britain may offer an opportunity to push for further integration. However, in the current economic context and given current levels of migration, the European institutions have to fully exercise their skills to obtain meaningful results in order to restore trust among Europe’s citizens. The gamble is far from being won…

Tribune européenne


Can the British Really Leave the Union?

The history of the UK’s relations with the European Community –and, subsequently, European Union– has never run smoothly. With their preferential trans-Atlantic links to the USA and an economy which, for a long time, they regarded as sizeable enough on its own, the British dragged their feet over joining Europe and have always striven to limit as much as possible what they give back to it for membership. For a few years now, as Jean-François Drevet reminds us here, the British have lacked enthusiasm about the Union and now find themselves just a few strides from the exit, after the rash commitment of the Conservative prime minister to organize a referendum among his fellow citizens within the next two years to decide on the country’s continuing membership. As this column shows, neither the politically obstructive past attitude of the British nor their current attempts to renegotiate the country’s place in the EU have brought them any significant advantages over their partners. And the prospect of a Brexit would doubtless be much more damaging to the UK than to the other 27 member states which, with or without it, will remain international big hitters.


Économie, emploi - Société, modes de vie

What will the UK Collaborative Economy Look Like in 2025 ?

Le Nesta est un centre britannique indépendant qui cherche à promouvoir l’innovation en Grande-Bretagne et en Europe. Dans ce rapport, il s’intéresse à l’avenir de l’économie collaborative, un modèle reposant sur le partage et la mutualisation (de biens, de services, de connaissances…) entre les individus. Six scénarios d’évolution sont imaginés à l’horizon 2025. 1) L’essor du micro-entrepreneur Un nombre croissant d’individus choisissent de vendre leur temps et leurs compétences sur des plates-formes ...

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Recherche, sciences, techniques - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

The Role of Consumption in Climate Change: Impacts on the Climate and Potential Levers –the UK Example

In this issue on perspectives for consumption between now and 2030, Ruth Wood, Laurent Meunier and William Lamb examine the potential role of consumption as a lever for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, basing themselves on the state of UK research into the question. After reviewing the current context of climate change negotiations and the way emissions are currently accounted, they point up the advantages of starting from the end-consumer in the accounting of national greenhouse gas emissions. They go on to identify the main policy levers for lowering these consumption-related emissions, taking particular notice of the proportion of imports embedded in products consumed in a country like the UK. These include tax adjustment at borders, the active participation of firms, the integration of consumption-related emissions into national carbon budgets etc. Lastly, they stress the increasing usefulness of the British research for achieving awareness of the impacts of consumption on the climate, and also the need to take the longer term view, involving “realistic” time horizons, given the enormous efforts that will be required to meet the emissions target set for limiting global warming to 2°C by 2100.


The Future of Manufacturing

L’industrie représente 10 % du PIB (produit intérieur brut) du Royaume-Uni, plus de la moitié de ses exportations, près des trois quarts de ses dépenses de R&D, et emploie environ 2,5 millions de personnes. L’industrie britannique est diversifiée, puisqu’elle est présente dans l’aéronautique, la pharmacie, l’automobile, l’agroalimentaire... Près de 9 entreprises sur 10 emploient moins de 20 salariés, mais 90 % de la valeur ajoutée de l’industrie est créée par des entreprises de plus ...

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The Future of Work : Jobs and Skills in 2030

À quoi ressemblera le travail en 2030 et quelles seront les compétences les plus recherchées par les entreprises ? C’est à cette question que tente de répondre ce rapport mené par la Commission pour l’emploi et les compétences au Royaume-Uni, l’étude porte donc exclusivement sur ce pays. Pour rédiger ce rapport, les auteurs se sont appuyés sur des témoignages d’experts (professionnels, syndicats et universitaires) ainsi que sur la littérature internationale sur le sujet. Le rapport est découpé ...

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Analyse prospective

Population - Santé

Effets propres du vieillissement sur la protection sociale

L’association Futuribles International a réalisé, entre mars 2012 et juin 2013, une étude prospective sur « la solidarité à l’épreuve du vieillissement démographique » dont l’objet était d’explorer comment pourraient évoluer les solidarités entre et au sein des générations aux horizons 2020 et 2050, que ces solidarités passent par le « système » français de protection sociale, des structures mutualistes, assurantielles ou bancaires, ou par des réseaux informels, familiaux ou de voisinage. Quatre motifs principaux nous ont amenés à entreprendre ...

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Document étude

Société, modes de vie

Baisse de la consommation de viande au Royaume-Uni

Selon une enquête réalisée en septembre 2013 par l’institut de sondage YouGov auprès de 1820 adultes représentatifs de la population, un quart des Britanniques déclarent qu’ils ont diminué leur consommation de viande par rapport à l’année dernière, et 34 % seraient prêts à le faire à l’avenir. Mais qu'en est-il dans la réalité ? La consommation de viande a-t-elle vraiment reculé au Royaume-Uni ces dernières années ?

Note de veille

Société, modes de vie

Peak stuff : l’incertitude est confirmée

En 2011, Chris Goodall, un chercheur britannique, affirmait que la Grande-Bretagne aurait atteint son « pic de consommation » entre 2001 et 2003 ; depuis cette date, le volume de consommation du pays aurait commencé à décroître. En conséquence, en 2007, le volume de consommation des Britanniques serait redescendu à son niveau de 1989 [1]. Selon lui, un processus de découplage durable serait donc en cours, qui s’expliquerait par les progrès technologiques, mais aussi par la dématérialisation, l’apparition de nouvelles valeurs ...

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Note de veille


Les acteurs locaux peuvent-ils remplacer l’État ?

En 2010, le premier ministre britannique David Cameron a lancé le concept de big society, dont l’objectif est officiellement de donner plus de pouvoir aux citoyens, aux administrations et aux associations locales face à un État jugé trop puissant [1]. Il s’agit aussi (ou surtout) de compenser certaines coupes budgétaires en recourant plus souvent aux collectivités, aux fonds privés et au bénévolat. Les associations et, plus largement, tous les citoyens sont donc invités à participer à la vie ...

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Actualité du futur


The future of Big Ed (ucation)

L’éducation supérieure en Angleterre et aux États-Unis n’est-elle pas en train de passer progressivement d’un modèle artisanal à un modèle industriel de production de masse ? Selon Nigel Thrift, vice-chancelier et président de l’université de Warwick en Angleterre, l’augmentation forte du nombre d’étudiants dans le monde, la croissance des budgets de recherche, l’essor des technologies de l’information sont autant d’éléments qui autorisent à penser qu’une véritable industrialisation à grande échelle de ...

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Tribune européenne


The European Union and its Three Major Players

The various crises the European Union has undergone in recent years (economic, institutional, monetary etc.) and the way the member states have reacted to them at the national and the community level, have reconfigured the balance between the various countries. Among these countries, three “major players” are worthy of particular attention on account of their demographic, economic and diplomatic impact within this regional ensemble. These are the UK, Germany and France.

Jean-François Drevet describes the positioning of these three countries within the Union and their mid- to long-term perspectives. Confronted with a United Kingdom that feels vindicated in its minimalist European position, somewhere between “wait-and-see” and Euroscepticism, and continues in the footsteps of the American elder brother, the Franco-German Couple, its centre of gravity now shifted towards Berlin, is finding it hard to mount the effort for regional integration that would enable the Union to regain both economic and diplomatic momentum. A re-balancing would be salutary, but is France able to transcend its inter-governmental vision of the European edifice and make the innovations required to strengthen the Union that are probably the only alternative to decline?

Note de veille

Société, modes de vie

L’alimentation sacrifiée en Europe

La crise économique, parce qu’elle touche directement les ménages ou qu’elle les incite à plus de prudence, a entraîné une baisse de leur consommation plus ou moins marquée selon les secteurs. Si les secteurs déjà en crise sont les plus touchés, les dépenses alimentaires restent elles aussi très moroses. Surtout, de nouveaux comportements d’achats alimentaires apparaissent chez certains ménages, en France et dans d’autres pays européens.En France, selon les données de l’INSEE (Institut national ...

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Note de veille


Malouines : un test géopolitique pour l’Amérique latine

Les tensions récentes autour des îles Malouines font resurgir le souvenir d’une guerre vieille de 30 ans. Mais le conflit n’a plus le même visage et ses enjeux ont évolué. À l’heure des nouvelles alliances latino-américaines, l’Argentine n’est plus la seule à défier la Grande-Bretagne sur cette épineuse question.

Note de veille

Économie, emploi

En 2012, le Royaume-Uni lance les fonds de pension low cost

En 2006, pour réduire la pauvreté des retraités, le gouvernement britannique a entamé une réforme de son système de retraite. Le Pension Act 2007 annonçait, entre autres, pour 2012, l’obligation pour tous les employés d’adhérer à un fond de pension dès l’embauche. Cette année, trois groupes proposeront leurs services low cost aux salariés britanniques.

Note de veille

Éducation - Institutions

Les services publics dédiés aux jeunes en Grande-Bretagne : l’échec instructif de Connexions

Lancé en 2001 en Angleterre, le système Connexions a été conçu afin d’unifier l’organisation des services d’accompagnement et de soutien des jeunes. La structure était innovante et paraissait prometteuse. Mais la stratégie comme l’organisation se révèlent en fait inefficaces, et le système a été fortement remanié en 2008. L’expérience Connexions permet cependant d’interroger les bonnes pratiques observées en Grande-Bretagne concernant l’organisation des pouvoirs publics dédiés aux jeunes : un thème qui mérite d’autant ...

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Société, modes de vie

Tourism 2023 : Four Scenarios, a Vision and a Strategy for UK Outbound Travel and Tourism

Le tourisme est souvent présenté comme l’un des secteurs les moins bien préparés aux futurs défis mondiaux tels que la croissance démographique, le réchauffement climatique ou encore l’accès à certaines ressources naturelles (eau potable, pétrole…). Afin d’imaginer à quoi pourrait ressembler le tourisme en Grande-Bretagne et dans le monde en 2023, le Forum for the Future a interrogé une centaine d’experts et de professionnels du secteur. Les auteurs identifient trois domaines dans lesquels ils estiment qu ...

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Tribune européenne


The United Kingdom out of Europe?

The Treaty of Lisbon, "modifying the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty Establishing the European Community", is currently being ratified in the various member states of the Union and will come into force only when ratified by all of them (theoretically in January 2009). Like France and the Netherlands, which put an end to the Draft European Constitution in 2005, the United Kingdom may, by refusing to ratify the treaty, block its implementation or - another possible interpretation - put itself in a position to leave the Union.
In this column, Jean-François Drevet reminds us of the distinctive position the British have always occupied in Europe, by dint, among other things, of their historical attachment to the United States and their Commonwealth partners. He also stresses the pragmatism of the United Kingdom, which is mindful of the advantage of belonging to the European economic market, though very hostile to any form of extensive integration. Lastly, he shows that it will doubtless be difficult for the United Kingdom to leave the Union while retaining the economic advantages of membership. The British will therefore very probably remain "in Europe", though the Union may not progress politically as much as it otherwise would have done.