June 20, 2016

The UK Referendum on EU Membership: Economic Development

Leading up to the referendum, the Centre for Cross Border Studies and Co-operation Ireland are publishing a series of briefing papers which aim to inform debate by exploring the potential impacts on Northern Ireland and North-South relations.

In this fifth and last paper in our series we will consider the question of economic development. However, the issue of the future of the UK and Northern Ireland’s economy in the event of a Brexit is perhaps the most contested, with radically contradictory arguments on how the economy would fare outside the EU. This is in large part due to not knowing what arrangements would be put in place as a result of the negotiations between the UK Government and the EU following a formal declaration to the European Council of the UK’s departure. It is also as a result that the arguments on both sides are necessarily based on economic forecasts, which by their very nature cannot be seen as definitive. The future performance of the economy of the UK and Northern Ireland, of the EU, or of any other economic bloc or nation cannot be predicted with absolute certainty given that any number of unpredictable events can affect the global, regional or national economies.Therefore, in this paper we will limit ourselves to setting out the past and current performance of key economic actors relevant to the debate, before offering an overview of some of the possible models the UK may adopt in terms of formal trading relations with the EU if it were to leave the European Union, including the option of not having any formal relation at all.

Click here to access the full briefing paper.