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Guest Lecture by Christa Tobler at Jindal Global University in Delhi

Logo: O.P. Jindal Global University (Wikimedia Commons, Fair Use)

On April 5, 2017, Prof. Christa Tobler held a guest lecture at the Centre for European Studies of O.P. Jindal Global University in the Indian capital of Delhi. She spoke on the topic “‘Brexit’ – What is it about and what could it mean for India?”

In her talk at the Centre for European Studies of O.P. Jindal Global University, Christa Tobler focused on the “Brexit” and its implications for India: On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) held an advisory referendum on the country's future membership in the European Union (EU). A narrow majority of those participating in the referendum voted in favour of leaving (“Brexit”). The government has vowed to respect this outcome. Never before has a country left the EU.

In fact, it is only since 2009 that EU law contains legal rules on withdrawal and on the procedure of leaving. Being an untested process, it raises many interesting legal questions, both within the UK and the EU. Thus, in the UK the question of who can decide on actual withdrawal and trigger the exit procedure under EU law had to be decided by the UK Supreme Court (which held that parliamentary legislation is needed).

On the level of EU law, it is for example open whether a state's decision to leave the EU may be withdrawn. There are also many difficult political issues, including in particular the future relationship between the UK and the EU. However, the “Brexit” is an important issue not only within the EU but also in the context of trade relations with third countries (i.e. non-Member States).

India is currently the fastest growing economy in the world and a strategic partner for the EU. Conversely, the EU is India's number one trading partner. In this context, what will be the consequences if one important Member State leaves the EU, especially from a legal point of view?

Christa Tobler is professor of European Union law at the Europa Institutes of the Universities of Basel (Switzerland) and Leiden (The Netherlands). In her research, she focuses on the concepts of legal equality and discrimination, both in economic and in social law. Her second field of specialisation are the legal relationships between the European Union and Switzerland.

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