THEME: Mediation and International Politics
This article is authored by Nihar Bhagat and Mihir Girish Govande from I.L.S Law College, Pune.
The deadline for the Brexit negotiations was extended more than once by the EU however it can’t be extended beyond 31st January 2020. The implications of Brexit are wide and far reaching for the world as a whole. They depend on the outcome of negotiations between the concerned parties i.e. the EU and UK. While both the parties have opted for bilateral negotiations in order to deal with the Brexit process, in this essay we examine the application of Mediation as a possible remedy to this process. We begin with a brief description of Brexit. We then examine the future of Europe post-Brexit and the global ramifications of Brexit. Through this essay we have tried to examine the possible impact of mediation on the Brexit process by examining and subsequently suggesting Multi-Party mediation involving nation-states and mediation by private firms as alternatives to the bilateral negotiation strategy currently adopted by the parties. This essay aims at understanding the exact nature of Brexit along with its socio-political-economic implications, its possible effects on international relations, global economy and future of European geo-politics. We aim at examining the possibilities of mediation (particularly multi-party mediation) regarding international relations and the global economy.
Brief introduction to Brexit
On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom (hereinafter, UK) held a referendum posing the question of whether the UK should “remain” in or “leave” the European Union (hereinafter, EU). The results were published on 24 June 2016. 48.1% of the votes cast was in favour of “remain”, while 51.9% chose to “leave” the EU.1 the results call for the UK to exit from the EU, which will require complex and protracted negotiations between the UK Government and the 27 remaining Members of the EU.
31 December 2020 is the deadline or the date till which the post Brexit transition period will be active. During this transition period, the UK and EU will have to arrive at a new trade agreement, the framework for which has already been agreed upon. The deadline for the Brexit negotiations was extended more than once by the EU. On 29 January 2020 EU Parliament will vote on the agreement.
One result of the UK’s referendum on EU membership on 23 June 2016 has been to leave behind a situation of considerable legal and personal uncertainty for EU27 citizens and their families resident in the UK, and UK citizens and their families resident in the EU27 Member States. It has also struck a blow against the viability of much of the UK economy, where a ‘high employment– low wage– low productivity’ triangle has largely been kept in place by a ready supply of labour from elsewhere within the Single Market, especially since the post- 2004 enlargements. It is the putative impact of this supply of flexible and arguably cheaper labour on domestic labour markets which means that calls to end free movement come not just from those who oppose immigration per se, but also from those on the political left who profess an internationalist outlook yet who argue that free movement makes it harder to pursue domestic policies that push the UK towards being a ‘high wage – high productivity’ economy.
On the other hand, the Union’s overall objective in these negotiations will be to preserve its interests, those of its citizens, its businesses and its Member States. The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the Union creates significant uncertainties that have the potential to cause disruption, in particular in the United Kingdom but also, to a lesser extent, in other Member States. Citizens who have built their lives on the basis of rights flowing from the British membership of the EU face the prospect of losing those rights. Businesses and other stakeholders will lose the predictability and certainty that come with EU law. It will also have an impact on public authorities.
According to Michell Cini and Amy Verdun, the result of the UK’s referendum on membership came as a shock not only to the UK elites, but also to the rest of the EU. The outcome hit the EU, its Member States and its institutions, for three reasons in particular:
It was the first time (barring the exceptional cases of Greenland and Algeria) that the EU would diminish in size.
- EU actors recognised that the political implications of the UK’s decision would reverberate across their domestic political arenas.
- The outcome was extremely puzzling. Few could figure out exactly why UK voters wished to leave, why the UK government would accept the decision when there was such a slim majority in favour of leaving.
Furthermore, the referendum results varied significantly across the UK, suggesting that any new relationship the UK might end up having with the EU (what became known as a ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ British exit from the EU) could alter the UK’s constitutional settlement. Uta Steiger and Benjamin Martill lay out a very valid point when they say that-
The outcome of the Brexit negotiations may not (indeed, probably cannot) please everyone, but British and European democracy will be healthier, ceteris paribus, if the citizens of Europe engage in greater levels of political deliberation and understanding. Europe and the EU thus find themselves at a ‘critical juncture’; one hastened, for sure, by Brexit, but also reflecting broader social, institutional and geopolitical challenges facing the continent.
Problems Posed By Brexit in Global Context
Brexit essentially would result in furtherance of barriers and obstacles to free entry and exit, and unity of European market. Broadly speaking Brexit raises questions about the future stability of the EU and the extent to which further globalization is inevitable
Brexit would mean cessation of all the benefits for UK otherwise enjoyed by a EU member state. This would result in higher costs for UK while trading with its neighbouring states (UK post-Brexit would find itself engulfed with EU member states). UK has had to pay certain fee for its membership, however the magnitude of increase in expenditure due to increase in costs would outweigh the small savings UK might have by not having to pay for EU Membership in the EU has reduced trade costs between the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe.
According to the economist, John Van Reenen:
There is a customs union between EU members, which means that all tariff barriers have been removed within the EU, allowing for free trade in goods and services. But equally important in reducing trade costs has been the reduction of nontariff barriers resulting from the EU’s continuing efforts to create a Single Market within Europe. Nontariff barriers include a wide range of measures that raise the costs of trade—such as border controls, rules-of-origin checks, cross-country differences in regulations over things like product standards and safety, and threats of antidumping. These reductions in trade barriers have increased trade between the United Kingdom and the other members of the EU.
Before the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, about one-third of U.K. trade was with the EEC. In 2014, the 27 other EU members accounted for 45 percent of U.K. exports, and 53 percent of imports. 
This higher trade benefits U.K. consumers through lower prices and access to better goods and services. At the same time, workers and businesses benefit from new export opportunities that lead to higher sales and profits, and allow the United Kingdom to specialize in those industries where it has a comparative advantage. Through these channels, increased trade raises output, incomes, and living standards in the United Kingdom. Van Reenen further classifies the trade effects of Brexit in two types- Trade’s Static Effects and Dynamic effects.
Trade’s Static Effects –
Swati Dhingra and others (2016a) use a modern quantitative trade model of the global economy to estimate Brexit’s effects on trade and living standards. This model incorporates the channels through which trade affects consumers, firms, and workers, and provides a map from trade data to welfare. The model takes into account the effects of Brexit on U.K. trade with the EU, and U.K. trade with the rest of the world. To forecast the consequences of the United Kingdom leaving the EU, Swati Dhingra and others make assumptions about how trade costs will change following Brexit. They analyze two scenarios: an optimistic, “soft Brexit” scenario, in which the increase in trade costs between the United Kingdom and the EU is small; and a pessimistic, “hard Brexit” scenario with a larger rise in trade costs. Nauro Campos, Fabrizio Coricelli, and Luigi Moretti (2015) find that Norway’s productivity growth has been harmed by not fully participating in the EU’s market integration programs. In the hard Brexit scenario, they assume that trade between the United Kingdom and the EU will be governed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. This implies larger increases in trade costs than the soft Brexit scenario, because most-favored-nation tariffs will be imposed on trade between the United Kingdom and the EU, and because the WTO will make less progress on reducing nontariff barriers than the EU.
The increases in trade costs between the United Kingdom and the EU following Brexit can be divided into three categories:
(i) Higher tariffs on imports;
(ii) Higher nontariff barriers to trade, arising from different regulations, border controls, and the like; and
(iii) The lower likelihood of the United Kingdom participating in future EU integration efforts, such as the continued reduction of non tariff barriers.
Finally, trade costs between countries within the EU have been declining approximately 40 percent faster than trade costs between other countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). 
In the event of Brexit, the United Kingdom would not directly benefit from any future reductions in intra-EU trade costs. Like all EU members, the United Kingdom makes a contribution to the EU budget; this net fiscal contribution has been estimated at about 0.53 percent of national income (HM Treasury 2013).
In the soft Brexit case Swati Dhingra and others assume that the United Kingdom’s contribution to the EU budget will fall by 17 percent (that is, 0.09 percent of GDP). In the hard Brexit case, where the United Kingdom is outside the EEA, they assume that the United Kingdom will save more of its current contribution. In the soft Brexit scenario, there is an overall fall in income of 1.28 percent (a loss of 1.37 percent from trade, plus a lower net fiscal transfer of 0.09 percent) that is driven by current and future changes in non-tariff barriers. Nontariff barriers play a particularly important role in restricting trade in services, an area where the United Kingdom is a major exporter.
In the hard Brexit scenario, the overall loss increases to 2.61 percent. Following Brexit, the United Kingdom would no longer be bound by the EU’s common external tariffs on imports. Some promarket supporters of the leave campaign have argued that the United Kingdom could benefit by unilaterally removing all tariffs on imports into the United Kingdom in order to lower the cost of imported goods. There seems to be little political appetite for abolishing all trade protection against China and other emerging economies, but they examine this radical unilateral liberalization policy for completeness. After including the additional assumption that the United Kingdom removes all tariffs on imports from anywhere in the world, the overall net effect of Brexit remains negative. Part of the reason for this is that WTO tariffs are already quite low, so further reductions do not make a substantial difference.
Brexit’s Dynamic Trade Effects
Trade can have positive effects by increasing competition, which reduces excess profits and promotes efficiency. Recent research by Nicholas Bloom and others finds that dynamic effects may double or triple the size of trade’s static effects. Even the dynamic effects of trade post- Brexit are not beneficial to the UK.
Future Trade Agreements
Members of the EU have a common trade policy and are represented by the EU in all international trade negotiations. After Brexit, the United Kingdom will become an independent player; free to seek its own trade deals with the rest of the world. The United Kingdom could use this freedom to look for new trade deals with countries such as China, India, and the United States. Dhingra and others’ (2016a) model shows that trade with such non-EU countries does indeed rise after Brexit, as trade diversion falls. But the magnitude of these increases is not nearly enough to offset the decline in trade with the EU. The United Kingdom would need to take on the cost of hiring civil servants to rebuild its capacity to engage in trade negotiations. More important, because Britain’s GDP is less than one-fifth of the EU Single Market’s GDP, it would have less bargaining power in trade negotiations than the EU does. 
Foreign Direct Investment
Most of the FDI in Britain comes from European community. An important reason for inward FDI to Britain is unfettered access to the EU Single Market; so reduced access will make the United Kingdom a less attractive destination. Studies have usually found that FDI benefits productivity (see Haskel, Pereira, and Slaughter 2007 on U.K. data). Randolph Bruno and others (2016) estimate a gravity model of FDI between 34 OECD countries and find that Brexit would likely lead to a fall in FDI to the United Kingdom by over a fifth. This is because EU membership allows foreign banks to sell (“passport”) their services anywhere in the EU. 
Misconceptions about Immigration and its negative impacts on UK
A major factor in the Brexit referendum was the desire to reduce immigration. Between 1995 and 2015, the number of EU nationals living in the United Kingdom tripled, mainly after the accession of Poland and other formerly communist countries in 2004. Freedom of movement is a central tenet of the EU and a quid pro quo of full access to the Single Market. Indeed, most macroeconomic assessments suggest that immigration, like free trade and FDI, has been a net benefit for the U.K. economy. Hence, reducing immigration after Brexit will do nothing to offset the negative trade and FDI effects of Brexit.
Brexit will make Britain poorer compared with remaining in the EU.
Northern Ireland: The issue of Hard Border
After Brexit, Northern Ireland will be the only part of the UK sharing a land border with the EU. Therefore, the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – largely invisible and ‘frictionless’ at present – will become an external EU border. At the same time, keeping an open border between Northern Ireland and Ireland holds strong political importance for the peace process, which has established consultation and cooperation between the island’s North and South on matters of common interest, including the development of joint policies.
This raises the question of how to maintain the open border on the island of Ireland if, in the future, standards and regulations diverge between the UK and the rest of the EU, while at the same time avoiding divergence between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. Moreover, the absence of a customs union between the EU and the UK will require the introduction and enforcement of a customs border to manage the future differences in the customs regimes and customs procedures to control the compliance of goods in transit.
The impact for Britain of leaving the Single Market on trade barriers would depend upon what, if any, new deal the United Kingdom and the EU negotiated. Absent a new deal, Britain would trade with the EU under World Trade Organization terms, as the United States and China currently do. Goods trade would be subject to most-favored nation tariffs and both border and behind-the- border nontariff barriers would increase.
Brexit and International Integration
Thomas Sampson, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, London School of Economics has used nation state hypothesis to understand future repercussions of Brexit,
“The nation-state hypothesis is closely related to Rodrik’s (2011) idea that the global economy faces a political dilemma. Rodrik argues that nation-states, democratic politics, and deep international economic integration are mutually incompatible, and that countries can choose at most two of the three options. For Europe to remain democratic either the people of Europe must develop a collective identity in place of their separate national identities or the supranational powers of the EU must be reduced. It is too soon to know whether Britain leaving the EU will prove to be merely a diversion on the path to greater integration, a sign that globalization has reached its limits, or the start of a new era of protectionism. In the year since the Brexit vote, EU leaders have worked to ensure Brexit does not lead to other countries leaving the union and, in the short-run at least, they have succeeded.”
Mediation a Possible Remedy
Mediation is a specific form of third-party intervention that, over time, has been used extensively to address international conflicts.
The mediation process is a non-binding third party effort to resolve economic contractual disputes in international negotiations by individuals, organizations or other states; it can be used as an additional means to legal actions. It can help parties save face and avoid the winner-loser-syndrome.
. As the beginning of conflicts in international negotiations is not necessarily clear to perceive their outcomes often entail specific consequences. Typically authority and imposition, retreat or avoidance, and compromise, resolution or settlement is the outcomes of international conflict conciliation. Conflicts can be resolved unilaterally
(e.g. hostility, retreat), bilaterally (e.g. bargaining, wheeling and dealing) or multilaterally (e.g. binding and non-binding third party intervention).
With the various types of mediation come differing structures and techniques. For example, we find more complexity in international and labour disputes, with more parties involved than in community or domestic disputes.
Considering the frequency with which mediation has been employed, the question as to which form of mediation will improve the chances for successfully resolving international conflicts takes on great importance. Jeannie Grussendorf in her review of “In Mediating International Crises” states that experts offer empirical as well as experimental data to address this debate. Their results suggest that the more coercive or manipulative mediation style has clear advantages. Some of the findings in the second stage of their analysis, which focuses on the outcomes of mediated intervention, are in line with generally accepted assumptions in the field of conflict management. Specifically, the cases in which mediation was employed proved to be more ready to “terminate with the conclusion of a formal agreement, to terminate earlier, satisfaction among the parties, and to lead to a sustained reduction in tensions among the adversaries””
Jacob Bercovitch analyzes the effect of third party on a mediation process, “The inclusion of a third party in an international dispute turns a dyadic relationship into a triadic interaction of some kind. At the heart of this transformation are a mediator’s attempts to affect the behaviour, choice and perceptions of the disputing states. A mediator enters a dispute to exercise some influence over it. To do so, a mediator interacts with each disputant and with both together. In some ways a mediator becomes in effect another negotiating party, an extension of the conflict system. As such, a mediator may be passive, or have virtual control over the process of communication and information exchange. Mediation is context and mode specific. 
The list of desired or desirable attributes for a successful international mediator is very long indeed. Among those qualities, which experienced mediators cite as particularly, important are intelligence, stamina, energy, patience and a sense of humour. Another characteristic, which has been traditionally cited as being strongly associated with effective mediation, is evenhandedness or impartiality. Young claims that ‘a high score in such areas as impartiality would seem to be at the heart of successful interventions in many situations’. The traditional emphasis on impartiality stems from the failure to recognize mediation as a structural extension of bilateral bargaining and negotiation.” 
Directive mediation in international conflicts
Mediating International Crises looks at three styles of mediation: which the third party employs leverage to manipulate the parties toward a particular conclusion. After studying the impact of these types of mediation, experts find that more aggressive and substantively intrusive are most successful in generating formal agreements. Not only did it prove to be more effective outcomes, manipulative mediation was also more effective payoffs for the weaker parties in asymmetric crises” combination with their finding that “more forceful of ripeness increase the likelihood that a crisis will seems to settle the debate over the value of coercion mediation. Yet, they also point out that facilitative mediation has an important role to play because the “evidence points to facilitation as having the largest positive effect on reducing tensions between actors after the crisis concludes”. In other words, what appears to be conclusive support for coercion in conflict management actually fits very well into what Ronald Fisher and Loraleigh Keashly (1991) describe as a “contingency approach” to third-party intervention in the overall process of conflict resolution.
Relationships between disputants influence mediator strategies and parties’ motivations to reach an agreement. Wall and Lynn (1993) claim that mediation is likely to be more successful where disputing parties have close relationships. In international relations, close relationships may be represented by membership of international regimes. International regimes are defined as “sets of implicit or explicit principles, norms, rules, and decision-making procedures around which actors’ expectations converge in a given area of international relations”. Some International
Regimes do not have institutional form; others are so evolved as to be embedded in international and regional organizations.
While proposing multiparty mediation one has two consider two major factors; supply side determinants and demand side influences (hereinafter referred to as ‘SSD’ and ‘DSI’ respectively). SSDs consist of considerations, objectives, interests and motives of coalition of parties acting as mediators. On the other hand DSIs consist of various (conflicting) interests of the belligerent states. Both of the aforementioned factors are decisive in optimum structuring/formation and functioning of a mediation process.
In case of Brexit, the SSDs would include:
- National Economic Interests of nations directly affected by the Brexit
- Economic interests of those nations who are not subject to immediate direct effect of the Brexit.
- Interests of Northern Ireland regarding geographical inaccessibility post Brexit
- London being the cultural economic and commercial epicenter of Europe and also being considered financial capital of Europe, the Brexit would result in massive displacement of businesses, banks and other institutions.
The DSIs for the same would be:
- For UK
- Preservation of economic-cultural-political pre-Brexit status quo of the UK
- Interests pertaining to international integration of UK post-Brexit
- Smooth un-hampered transformation from being an EU member state to being a non-member state, and achieving status quo with relative ease
2) For EU
- Minimizing the losses suffered from Brexit
- Reinstating the financial capital of EU within the geographical limits of EU
- Maintaining solidarity between EU member states
Mediators: Nation-States vs. Private Parties
One pertinent question regarding the entire mediation process is whether the mediation is to be conducted by nation-states or by private parties (law firms, mediation centers and other such institutions). The idea of having nations participating as mediators is a lucrative one, as it would make the mediation more directive and manipulative in nature. In such a case the mediation would be more transparent, the mediators would be able to assess the implications and potential impacts on the global community at every other turn of the process and would be able to take preemptive, corrective, precautionary measures. However the same might be perceived as intrusive act on the part of mediators and the belligerent states may find it an encroachment on their rights to resolve the issue on their own terms. Having nation-states, as mediators would impale the amount of control and autonomy the parties would otherwise have in the entire process.
By considering private parties as possible mediators the entire mediation process would turn out to be more facilitative than directive. Mediators in such a case would have lesser influence and power while considering the interests of the parties. They may be able to assess and foresee potential harms of outcomes of the process but would be inept to exert any kind of deliberation to change the same. In this alternative the parties would retain the autonomy and control in true sense and the mediator would mostly perform functions of a facilitator providing logistical, support and infrastructure, human resources etc.
As far as the option of nation-states as mediators is concerned, we suggest the following nations as potential mediators- Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Canada. These nations have a particularly high, well-placed interests in a smooth Brexit and they are likely to ensure that the two parties in question maintain as high a degree of integration as possible post- Brexit, and that they would approach the process as well as the termination of the long standing association amicably. If the four aforementioned countries were to engage in multi- party mediation i.e. form a coalition, they will have a higher chance of success in mediating Brexit owing to the fact that they will have superior leverage as compared to leverage each country might have when meditating alone. Leverage can play a very important role in successful mediation of a dispute. Leverage here can be understood in terms of bargaining power and global influence.
Throughout this paper we have tried to highlight the position of EU and UK as global leaders in fields like (and -as diverse as-) economy, international relations, globalizations. Their union has proven to be a leading force in the 20th century advocating international integration, idea of Single Market, laissez faire economic policy, trans boundary unionization of geographically proximate nation-states. Owing to their prowess they (and their disintegration) pose a unique and unprecedented predicament to the world. Hence it would seem rather prudent to have aforementioned nations to mediate any possible forthcoming differences, disputes and contentions, while being mindful of the global impacts -immediate or otherwise- of the same.
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 The relationship after British exit from the EU has been classified as ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ Brexit
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 The 1998 Good Friday/Belfast Peace Agreement enshrines extensive North-South cooperation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, facilitated by the EU membership of both the UK and Ireland. However, the UK government has rejected the possibility of remaining in the EU’s internal market and/or in the EU customs union.
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 The ripple effects of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the US in September 2008 quickly led to some Eurozone countries – notably Greece, but also including Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus – becoming financially vulnerable and experiencing severe sovereign debt crises, which in turn exposed the Eurozone’s structural weaknesses. For there were no semi- automatic mechanisms, as there would be in fully developed economic and monetary unions, to assist EMU Member States experiencing difficulties.
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 See: Tobias Böhmelt, Why many Cooks if they can spoil the broth? The determinants of multiparty mediation, 49 no. 5 JOURNAL OF PEACE RESEARCH, 701-715 (2012).
 Third world nations owing to their ‘developing economy’ status, are vulnerable to negative economic impacts resulting from economic impacts of Brexit on global economy. Hence in an event like that of Brexit their interests need to be protected.