Brexit Rhapsody: Exploring Patterns of Issue Salience in the Negotiations

Moloney, David and Jensen, Mads Dagnis (2024). Brexit Rhapsody: Exploring Patterns of Issue Salience in the Negotiations. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies (early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jcms.13624

Abstract

This study revisits the salience of the Brexit negotiations using an advanced Decision‐Making in the European Union (EU) methodology to assess the relative importance of 20 key issues amongst the EU27 member states, the European Commission and the UK. Unlike earlier studies that suggest more uniform salience levels, except for the UK, our analysis identifies eight clusters of actors influenced by their political, economic and geographical contexts. These differences in salience levels have been conducive to logrolling, which likely supported a unified EU stance and a successful agreement with the UK. Additionally, our research quantitatively confirms the UK's distinct salience position, highlighting its isolation and reducing its ability to use divisive negotiation tactics. These findings offer insights into both the dynamics of past Brexit negotiations and ongoing EU–UK policy developments. They contribute to the analysis of Brexit and international negotiations in general by systematically exploring salience in high‐level diplomatic negotiations.

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