UCL European Institute


Jumping ship: what Brexit means for international cooperation

21 October 2020, 6:00 pm–7:15 pm

UCL's European Politics Series

Join us for the very first seminar in UCL's new European Politics Series, curated by the European Institute and the Department of Political Science.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Claudia Sternberg

Speaker: Stefanie Walter is Full Professor for International Relations and Political Economy at the University of Zurich. Her research examines distributional conflicts, political preferences and economic policy outcomes related to globalization, European integration, and financial crises. She is co-author of „The Politics of Bad Options“ (Oxford University Press, 2020).

Headshot of Stefanie Walter
The seminar is based on Prof. Walter's paper The Accommodation Dilemma: How voter-endorsed disintegration challenges the remaining member states.

ABSTRACT: In the past few years, the world has witnessed an unprecedented popular backlash against international institutions. This paper presents a framework for analyzing the challenges that unilateral, voter-endorsed attempts by one member state to withdraw from existing international institutions pose for international cooperation. It argues that the remaining member states are faced with an “accommodation dilemma”: not accommodating such unilateral attempts is costly, yet accommodating the revisionist country’s disintegration bid carries large contagion risks. The paper studies dynamics in detail by focusing on Brexit and leveraging original survey data from approximately 1.800 British and 60.000 EU-27 Europeans. It also highlights the generalizability of the argument with comparative case studies of four voter-endorsed withdrawal episodes. The paper shows that this framework can help us better understand the ability of foreign governments’ to intervene in domestic disintegration referendum campaigns, the existence of contagion effects across member states and variation in the responses of the remaining member states to voter-endorsed disintegration bids.

Chair: Christopher Wratil.

Find more information on the UCL European Politics Series, including our full preliminary programme, here.

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