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THE PROOF IN THE PUDDING.  ENGLAND IS IN A MESS.Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's government has made stopping migrant boats arriving a top priority


(A former member state seeking to return must apply under Article 49 – that is, the normal accession procedure.)

It therefore would be unwise for the UK to push for a different accession procedure.

( Instead, it could accelerate the process by ensuring that its laws and policies meet EU standards and by fulfilling all the requirements placed upon it expeditiously.)

The UK would have to demonstrate that it satisfied the Copenhagen criteria for EU membership, and secure agreement from the member states that they had the political will and the EU had institutional capacity to readmit it.

Enlargement requires unanimity – so would any member potentially veto the UK’s application?

This prospect raises important political questions which would have to be addressed before the UK took even the first step towards renewed membership.


These political dynamics would depend in large part upon how the UK conducts itself in the Brexit era, and the UK’s approach to the forthcoming future relationship negotiations, how it treats EU citizens and their families, and its trade, tax, social, environmental and labour regimes in the years ahead would all be factors. The shape of the EU-UK strategic partnership would also be an important consideration.

A successful future application for EU membership would have to be predicated upon a new political consensus in the UK.

So the EU would look for significant, stable and long-lasting majority public opinion in favour of re-joining.

It would require support for EU membership on the order of 60-65 per cent or more for several years would likely be a minimum standard.

If the UK were to bid for membership in the absence of such consensus, its application would undoubtedly be rejected.


Because the EU will not voluntarily import an unstable member state or risk another Brexit down the road.

The UK would have to start from scratch and accept being a more normal member state – and thus make its second EU membership much more positive and inclusive.

The first problem is the euro.

Ordinarily new member states of the European Union are expected to adopt the euro and to join the currency union.

During the accession process, the UK would have to undo whatever divergence it had effected from EU values and standards in the Brexit era and converge back with the EU acquis.

Depending on its depth, the EU-UK partnership could be the basis for the pre-accession phase, potentially complemented by a new Association Agreement.

If the UK did in future depart from the European Convention on Human Rights – either by leaving the Convention or suspending implementing Court judgements – the EU would insist it fully reintegrate into that as well.

Provided it was successful in re-joining the EU, the UK would have the opportunity to conduct its second EU membership completely differently. It could develop a comprehensive EU strategy, outlining its major policy themes and priorities for the EU and setting out the UK’s positive and forward-looking vision for Europe.

The UK could put in place structures to include the devolved political institutions of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (assuming they all remain in the UK) in its EU decision-making, providing them with genuine access and influence.

Seeking to re-join the EU would have to result from genuine reflection, not expedient self-interest.

After the Brexit saga, the UK will owe that much to the EU – and to itself.

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is an international treaty between the States of the Council of Europe. The United Kingdom was one of the States that drafted the ECHR and was one of the first States to ratify it in 1951. The Convention came into force in 1953.

The substantive rights and freedoms contained in the Convention are:

  • Article 2: the right to life
  • Article 3: the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment
  • Article 4: the prohibition of slavery and forced labour
  • Article 5: the right to liberty and security
  • Article 6: the right to a fair trial
  • Article 7: the prohibition of retrospective criminal penalties
  • Article 8: the right to private and family life
  • Article 9: the freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • Article 10: the freedom of expression
  • Article 11: the freedom of assembly and association
  • Article 12: the right to marry
  • Article 13: the right to an effective national remedy for breach of these rights
  • Article 14: the prohibition of discrimination in the protection of these rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is an international court which rules on individual or State applications regarding possible violations of the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights. Under Article 3 of the Human Rights Act, asylum seekers and refugees are protected from being returned to countries where they are at risk of torture, harm or death.An inflatable craft carrying migrants crosses the shipping lane in the English Channel towards the white cliffs at Dover on August 4, 2022 off the coast of Dover, England.

Even though an asylum seeker has no valid passport or identity document, or prior permission to enter the United Kingdom, this does not make his arrival at the port a breach of an immigration law.

The likely hood of the UK re-join the EU is zero.

The UK could instead join an outer tier.

However, the EU will be unlikely to move in that direction in the foreseeable future, not least due to opposition from those member states which fear being relegated to the outer tiers.

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