Brexit: U-M experts available to comment

March 14, 2017
Greta Guest,
Greta Guest, 734-936-7821, or Nardy Baeza-Bickel, 734-763-0368, or Laurel Thomas Gnagey, 734-647-1841,


The U.K. Parliament approved legislation that allows Prime Minister Theresa May to formally notify the European Union that the country will start the process of leaving the union. Once May invokes Article 50, it would likely take two years for the U.K. to leave the EU. Meanwhile, Scottish leaders want an independence referendum as Scotland voted in favor of staying in the EU.

Scott Greer is an associate professor of health management and policy at the School of Public Health and senior expert adviser on health governance for the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. He researches the politics and policies of the United Kingdom and European Union, including devolution and the politics of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Before coming to Michigan, he taught at University College London.

“Brexit created serious policy and political problems, but ones with satisfactory solutions,” he said. “Politics in the U.K. since Brexit, however, have consistently made the problems bigger and the solutions harder to achieve. The U.K. is on course to solve short-term Conservative party management problems at the risk of the country’s very future.”

Contact: 734-936-3711,

Daniel Halberstam, the Eric Stein Collegiate Professor of Law and associate dean for faculty and research, is an internationally recognized expert on constitutional law and federalism, and one of the principal architects of the theory of constitutional pluralism. He lectures regularly throughout Europe, and provided expert advice in connection with one of the cases before the U.K. Supreme Court on Brexit last December.

“Brexit is bad for Europe and bad for the U.K. The EU will lose its structural bond to the global Commonwealth, Germany’s leadership role will be further magnified, and other factions—most of them dangerously illiberal—will agitate to leave the Union as well,” he said. The United Kingdom, in turn, will lose its own structural ties to Europe’s financial markets, the demonstrated benefits of free movement more generally, and one the pillars of peace in Northern Ireland.

“By leaving the EU, the U.K. is also undermining the Scottish bargain. Scotland’s 2014 vote to remain in the U.K. was based on David Cameron’s promise of a greater Scottish voice and on the desire among Scots to remain within the EU. The U.K. government taking the Scots out of the EU against their will changes all that.”

Contact: 734-763-4408,

Kyle Handley, assistant professor of business economics and public policy at the Ross School of Business, is an expert on how trade policy, geography and uncertainty affect firms.

“The U.K. is likely to find negotiating a new deal with the rest of the EU hard going and fraught with uncertainty for businesses,” he said. “Trade agreements often take well over two years to negotiate even when all parties believe the marriage is mutually beneficial. The Brexiteers’ task is more difficult. They must settle the terms of a divorce without holding many bargaining chips. In the interim, I expect the uncertainty over both the terms and the timing of a deal to weigh heavily against new U.K. investments and job creation by firms engaged in trade with the common EU market.”

Contact: 734-764-1581,

Kali Israel, associate professor of history, can discuss the historical complexity of Scotland’s referendum request.

“The situation is remarkably complicated in many ways, and things are continuing to happen, but there is certainly a widespread perception in Scotland that Theresa May has not taken Scottish voices and concerns seriously in her push for a ‘hard Brexit,'” she said. “The issue of respect for Scotland’s role in a British partnership, rather than as a minority which can always be outnumbered by English votes, is central, as well as concerns about Scottish ties to the EU for economic, cultural, and personal reasons.

“Many people are aware as well that, in the 2014 independence referendum, one important claim by the ‘No’ side was that an independent Scotland would lose membership in the EU; that has acquired some sharp edges since. It is also fair to say that the Scottish government, and many pro-independence voters, would have preferred not to face another referendum so soon.”