UCL Faculty of Laws


Brexit, but rEEAmain? The UK’s continuing membership in the European Economic Area as a game changer

18 May 2017, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm


Event Information

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UCL Faculty of Laws


UCL Gavin de Beer Lecture Theatre, Anatomy Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT


Professor Ulrich Schroeter (University of Basel, Switzerland)
Dr Heinrich Nemeczek (University of Basel, Switzerland)


Professor Piet Eeckhout (Vice Dean – Staffing, UCL Laws, Professor of EU Law)

About the lecture

On 29 March 2017, the UK government notified the European Union of its intention to withdraw from the EU. Surprisingly, the notification remained silent as to the UK’s membership in the European Economic Area (EEA), a treaty that extends the EU’s single market to a few non-EU States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), albeit with some modifications.

In their seminar, the speakers will argue that the UK, as a matter of law, will remain part of the EEA despite Brexit unless the UK government should decide to explicitly also withdraw from the EEA. A continuing EEA membership has important consequences for the UK and its citizens, consequences that could significantly affect both the imminent negotiations and the legal situation after the two-year negotiation period under Article 50(3) of the TFEU has lapsed: EEA law guarantees companies from the UK access to the single market, but remains outside of the European Court of Justice’s jurisdiction. Furthermore, the EEA Agreement potentially even allows the UK government to unilaterally restrict the free movement of workers.

The speakers will discuss these and other implications of the UK’s continuing EEA membership (including the European passport for financial institutions and the EEA financial mechanism), and will outline its advantages as a default regime in comparison with eg WTO law.

Lecture themes and learning outcomes at a glance

  • The UK’s EEA membership despite Brexit
  • Advantages and implications from the continuing EEA membership
  • Access to the Single Market in the EEA
  • European passport for financial institutions in the EEA
  • Application and surveillance of EEA law by British courts and authorities outside the EU institutional framework

About the speakers

Ulrich Schroeter is a full professor at the University of Basel (Switzerland). Prior to taking up his position in Basel in February 2017, he was a professor of law at the University of Mannheim (Germany) (2012–2017). Ulrich was educated at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg (Germany) and the University of Lausanne (Switzerland). He received a Doctor iuris from the Freie Universität Berlin before completing his post-doctoral qualification (Habilitation) at the University of Freiburg.

Ulrich has published books, book chapters and articles on contract law, international trade law, European Union law, treaty law, arbitration, commercial law and financial markets regulation, and has received awards for both his research and his teaching. His works have been cited by courts in Australia, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States of America as well as by Advocates General at the European Court of Justice.

Heinrich Nemeczek is a research fellow at the University of Basel (Switzerland) and attorney-at-law. He worked in the law department of Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) Limited and at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP in Frankfurt (Germany) in the field of financial regulation. Heinrich studied law at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg (Germany), funded by the German National Academic Foundation, and completed his legal practical training at the Higher Regional Court Karlsruhe with stages at Hengeler Mueller in Frankfurt and the German Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe (Germany).

Heinrich has published articles on contract law, international trade law, financial regulation, intellectual property and competition law.