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Monday, November 25, 2013

Open Europe offers you a date with the future: what can the UK achieve in talks over its EU membership terms?

Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall when EU leaders negotiate the EU's future? Well, Open Europe is offering you a front row seat at a simulation of what will arguably be the biggest negotiation round of them all: Will the UK will stay in the EU or negotiate a new relationship from the outside? If you are interested in the UK's future in Europe (and let's face it you must be if you're reading this blog), then this is an event you cannot afford to miss.

Such simulations are commonly referred to as 'war-games', and our event will take place in our specially customised 'war room' in Westminster on 11 December, featuring leading European politicians and experts - many of whom are themselves involved in EU talks. This is a completely new and innovative experiment intended to bring some substance to what tends to be a highly theoretical debate (which tends to vacillate between two extreme positions), and, we must admit, we're very excited.

By far the most common question we get these days is: what deal will David Cameron be able to strike in Europe? This is usually followed up with questions like:

"Will EU partners grant Cameron any meaningful concessions?"
"Will there be an EU treaty change?"
"What areas can Cameron devolve back to member states?"
"What can he do on issues like free movement of workers or the UK's budget contribution?"

And of course:

"Would the UK not get a better deal outside the EU anyway?"

All of these issues will be tackled in the course of our game.

Trade barriers replace tanks and
submarines but same principle 
War games are commonly used by a wide range of actors including investment banks, governments and intelligence bodies in order to simulate developments in areas such as diplomacy, politics and business, with players responding to unfolding events in real time. The outcomes often prove highly influential on actual policy decisions. For example, it is said that the German government war-gamed Greece's exit from the euro - and decided not to pull the trigger.

The majority of the time, these are conducted behind closed doors. Not so in this instance.

We have a phenomenal roster to carry out the actual negotiations, including:
  • Former French Europe Minister Pierre Lellouche (France)
  • Andrea Leadsom MP – co-founder of the Fresh Start Project and member of the No 10 Policy Unit (UK)
  • Former Irish Taoiseach John Bruton (European Commission and Parliament)
  • Swedish Shadow Foreign Minister Urban Ahlin (Scandinavia, Finland and the Baltics)
  • Leading Italian geopolitical expert and Limes Chief editor Lucio Caracciolo (Italy and Spain)
We'll also have players representing Germany, Poland and the Visegrad group and the Netherlands and Belgium.  

What makes our game really exciting is that it will cover two distinct scenarios; in the first, other EU member states have agreed to engage with the efforts to renegotiate Britain’s place in the EU, while in the second, ‘no’ is the starting point, triggering discussions over ‘Brexit’. That way it will be possible to compare the deal the UK would get staying inside a reformed EU and outside it.

For more information or to book a ticket, please visit our website or contact the Open Europe office.


Anonymous said...

In short I have lost all interest in trying to renegotiate with a bunch of dictators who do not have our best interests at heart.

I say to our politicians here in the UK that you have gone seriously off-paste in continually handing over our sovereignty to the EU and that you have undermined our culture and way of life and have damaged our country and the prospects of our children. GET OUT.

I want a people's "Commission of Truth" convened immediately to hold you to account and jail you.

No renegotiation - just give us our referendum.


graham wood said...

Anonymous above has pretty well said it concisely.

There will be NO meaningful "negotiations" since only the EU dispenses the favours.

In any event why negotiate? The EU has no democratic legitimacy, is not accountable to any of us, and to engage with it is only to endorse a living lie.

Jesper said...

EU-institutions are the result of nations negotiations, allowing the EU-institutions to take part and, by the look of it, set the agenda/facilitate will give them significant power in deciding the outcome.

If I wanted to keep things as they are then I'd:

1. Ensure there are issues on the agenda that cannot be amicably resolved.
2. Ensure that most (if not all) of the available time was used to discuss the agenda items created under point 1 above.
3. When enough time has been wasted then I'd point out that positions are too far apart to be reconciled.


If I wanted change:

1. Find areas where interests are aligned or at least not conflicted.
2. Put those things on the agenda.
3. Reconcile positions.


My take is that the given setup will lead to no change. Whether or not no change will lead to UK exiting the EU is uncertain, however, I'd doubt it.

Anonymous said...

When will the dunderheads in the HofC understand that no negotiations about our membership can take place until we have given notice to quit under article 50. This game is pointless.

christhai said...

Interestingly but not surprisingly, there are no Eurosceptics in this Game.

With no exception, including OE, the players are all Pro-EU all the way.

What a surprising outcome it is going to have. No?

Rik said...

The preliminary question is how to get to a real reneg scenario. Or better maximise the chance thereof.

As said several times before the UK should make it clear that keeping the UK aboard is worth say 750 Euro per year per continental.
To the burocracy things like less money for pet projects (UK is nett payer), less civil servants even pro rata (as UK provides relatively few of them).

Market risk.
Political contagion to other countries.

Just to name a few.

However Cameron communication strategy simply looks awful (like on several issues at 'home' btw, simply has big problems shooting a lame horse called Mr Ed).
OE gets much more continental media coverage than Dave and Co on this and much better targeted and a lot more consistent. And OE doesnot have a credibility problem.

Average Englishman said...

We are well past this sort of sillyness. The first Anonymous comment was dead right. The people of the UK demand the right to walk away from this very expensive 'game'. Referendum now!

Freedom Lover said...

Will the "game" include invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, or not? Will the "game" consider the 'Norway Option'? This is the situation in which Britain would gain by being able to participate as a full member in UN agency negotiations - as Norway does so effectively now as a non-EU member - as opposed to our current lamentable position where the EU negotiates for us, yet the EU position is normally a 'common' position for all 28 EU members regardless of the fact that some member states' positions (& often the UK's position) are quite different from those of the EU majority? And will there be some genuine (as opposed to 'faux') euro-sceptics, such as Richard North of the EU Referendum blogsite, participating? Anything else would be a waste of time!

G-Po said...


Will it be webstreamed? Sorry if I missed this and it's obvious.

Anonymous said...

Jesper :

You wrote : "EU-institutions are the result of nations negotiations"

No, they are not. They are the result of EU national government negotiations.

Each respective government in the EU member states, especially our own in the UK, has not consulted their own people when handing over sovereignty to the EU. The EU has even asked member states not to consult the people via referendums - The Lisbon Treaty is a shining example.

In my opinion, successive UK governments have gone off-piste and the gap between government and people is now a yawning gulf. Our democracy has been broken.

This is in effect a coup d'etat and/or treason and I want to hold our "precious" politicians to account and then jail them.

I and many like me just do not want to be governed by a bunch of unelected incompetents with an extremely poor track record.

Free trade. No sovereignty.