So, now that we have all slept on it, here is a possibly less hot take on the AstraZeneca/Article 16 mess.

First published in January 2021.

The AstraZeneca/Article 16 situation highlights the importance of the UK being closely across the European Union (EU) and the EU Commission activity, because it will affect the UK and there is no one permanently in place to look after UK interests.

The UK is now a third country and so it will always come after the Member States in political calculations. We were fortunate to have the Republic of Ireland looking after the Northern Ireland Protocol, and Michel Barnier to still be around, to unpick the situation of last night, but it might not apply to other situations.


Thus the UK needs to maintain working links with all parts of the EU Commission to head off issues and make sure there is someone to phone if it does go wrong.

I spoke about just this to the Commons’ Future Relationship with the EU Committee before Christmas.

In short, the UK might have left the EU, but it hasn’t left its orbit.  

Further Reading:

Professor Simon Usherwood, Professor in Politics, University of Surrey. All aspects of Brexit and EU-UK relations, plus some learning and teaching.

[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 30 January 2021 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected, and published with the author’s consent. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

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