Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Editorial | Open Access

Assessing What Brexit Means for Europe: Implications for EU Institutions and Actors

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Abstract:  With the signing of the EU–UK trade and cooperation agreement in December 2020, the configurations of Brexit have started to become clearer. The first consequences of the UK’s decision to leave the EU have become visible, both in the UK and in the EU. This thematic issue focuses on a relatively under-researched aspect of Brexit—what the UK withdrawal has meant and means for the EU. Using new empirical data and covering most (if not all) of the post-2016 referendum period, it provides a first overall assessment of the impact of Brexit on the main EU institutions, institutional rules and actors. The articles in the issue reveal that EU institutions and actors changed patterns of behaviour and norms well before the formal exit of the UK in January 2020. They have adopted ‘counter-measures’ to cope with the challenges of the UK withdrawal—be it new organizational practices in the Parliament, different network dynamics in the Council of the EU or the strengthening of the Franco-German partnership. In this sense, the Union has—so far—shown significant resilience in the wake of Brexit.

Keywords:  Brexit; Council of the EU; Court of Justice; European Parliament; institutional change; interest groups; negotiations; Norway; United Kingdom



© Edoardo Bressanelli, Nicola Chelotti. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.