We are delighted to launch our first Second Opinion report! Written with the support of Expat Citizens’ Rights in the EU (ECREU), our paper What We Can & Can’t Measure in a Brexit Deal aims to give a second opinion to the report released by a group of UK-based scholars at UK in a Changing Europe titled A Successful Brexit: Four Economic Tests.

The complete report is available here: What We Can and Can’t Measure in a Brexit Deal: Social Science Works 2017


Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is one of the most important social, political and economic events in Europe’s post-war history. The ramifications of Brexit for the UK, the European Union and beyond will be felt for decades to come. While it is difficult to measure the degree to which the political actions over the next two years will directly affect these outcomes, there is a need to include the voices of social and political sciences in this debate and ask ourselves what we think a good Brexit deal would look like. Our paper adds to this growing debate by broadening the dimensions through which a Brexit deal should be scrutinised.

We argue that a Brexit deal cannot be considered outside of the context of the aims of the European Union. That is to say that we consider the following some of the key dimensions which a Brexit deal ought to be examined:

  • The political and social stability of the UK and the remaining member states;
  • The preservation of citizens’ rights of EU nationals living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU;
  • The improved ability of the UK to push back against international forces;
  • Ongoing cooperation on matters of security.

In our Second Opinion report, we sought not only to add our voice to the debate, but also to demonstrate the relevance of a methodology for examining existing research, particularly when it is part of key, ongoing policy debates. A Successful Brexit: Four Economic Tests was conducted by noted scholars from the UK and as such we have found the quality of the paper to be mostly very high. That said, there were some areas, particularly in the realms of assumptions and definitions that have tilted its focus to looking at a future Brexit deal as an economic question. Our paper seeks to help to redress this.

The original paper asks how we can measure the success of a future Brexit deal for the UK. In doing so, it presents four economic tests relating to four thematic areas: public finances and the economy, fairness, openness and control. The paper makes it clear that it does not intend to offer a comprehensive framework through which to assess a future Brexit deal, and focuses only on economic considerations. In our conclusion, we argue that while A Successful Brexit: Four Economic Tests adds a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate on measuring the success of Brexit, it still omits many important criteria and indicators that go beyond the realm of economic data.

Download the complete report here: What We Can and Can’t Measure in a Brexit Deal: Social Science Works 2017