In the British referendum on 23 June 2016, the majority of the electorate (51.89%) voted for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, or “Brexit”. Based on the referendum result, the UK – which signed the Treaty of Accession to the European Economic Community on 22 January 1972, under the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EEC – left the EU, at the end of a procedure governed by article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). Initially scheduled for the end of March 2019, the withdrawal was postponed three times and only took effect on 31 January 2020, following a transitional period. The Withdrawal Agreement covers various issues including the protection of the rights of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens living in EU countries, post-Brexit financial commitments, and border questions on the island of Ireland. An agreement on the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom was approved on 27 April 2021 by the European Parliament.
Brexit not only gave rise to political and institutional upheavals; it also had another long-term consequence, namely a polarisation and division of British society that goes beyond generational divisions, socio-professional contexts and political and ideological leanings. Whether for or against, the discussions about this divorce are as heated as ever and the arguments on both sides are becoming increasingly entrenched.
To discuss the international repercussions of Brexit over the long term and construct a new narrative of the event by adopting a bottom-up approach (via an original oral history project),
Europe Direct at the University of Luxembourg and its partners, the Luxembourg Center for Contemporary and Digital History, the Young European Movement UK, the European Movement Luxembourg, the European Parliament and the EPP Group in the European Parliament, are pleased to invite you to the webinar “Brexit Reality Portraits” on 8 December 2021, at 17:30 via Webex.
- 17:30 – Introductory remarks – Dr Elena Danescu, Coordinator of Europe Direct at the University of Luxembourg
- 17:40 – Opening Comments – Prof. Catherine Léglu, Vice-Rectof for Academic Affairs at the University of Luxembourg
- 17:45 – Capturing microhistory with oral sources – Prof. Thomas Cauvin, C2DH, President of the International Federation for Public History
- 18:00 – Presentation of the oral history project and screening of the clip “Brexit Reality Portraits” – Alexiane Terrochaire-Barbançon – International Officer, Young European Movement UK
- The Brexit Reality Portraits consist of 10 video-portraits, already available on Youtube, and on YEM UK’s social media. The aim is simple: showing how Brexit has affected guests’ life, experiences and daily routines. The project’s originality lies in the fact that Remainers and Leavers often do not talk to each other and that UK citizens outside the UK or EU citizens living in the UK have unique perspectives to share.
- 18:20 – Brexit – current and future challenges – Christophe Hansen, Member of the European Parliament, EP rapporteur for the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA)
- 18:30 – 19:20 – Question and answer session, debate between MEP Christophe Hansen and the audience
- 19:20 – Closing address – Martine Reicherts, President of the European Movement Luxembourg
- 19:30 – End of the webinar
Presentation of the speakers
In alphabetical order
Thomas Cauvin is in charge of Public History as the new Citizen Science of the Past (PHACS) at the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH). Recipient of the ATTRACT fellowship (funded by the Fond National de la Recherche), he is Associate Professor of Public History at the University of Luxembourg. Cauvin earned his PhD at the European University Institute (Italy, 2012) and was post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan (2013). He worked as Assistant Professor of History at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (2013-2017) and at Colorado State University (2017-2020) in charge of the public history and museum program. Cauvin has been the president of the International Federation for Public History since 2018. He is the author of Public History: a Textbook of Practice (2016).
Elena Danescu is a Research Scientist, PhD in the Contemporary History of Europe Department at the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH), University of Luxembourg . Her research expertise is focused on: History of economic thought; contemporary history of Europe; oral history; democratic transitions in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. She has authored various academic publications in her specialist areas. Since April 2019 she is the Coordinator of the Europe Direct at the University of Luxembourg.
Christophe Hansen holds a Master’s Degree in Geosciences, Environmental Sciences and Risk Management from the Louis Pasteur University, Strasbourg. He began his career as political adviser to MEP Astrid Lulling (2007-2014), and he pursued his activity as a member of the Luxembourg Permanent Representation to the EU – where he chaired the Council Working Party on the environment during the Luxembourg EU Council Presidency (2015), and at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (2016-2018). He has been serving as a Member of the European Parliament since 2018 (first succeeding Viviane Reding) and having been re-elected in 2019. He is a member of the Committee on International Trade, where he is the lead rapporteur on Brexit. In 202, je also joined the Subcommittee on Tax Matters and he is part of the EP delegation for relations with the countries of the Andean Community and to the Euro-Latin Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat). Since 2018, he is a Member of the National Committee of the CSV (Christian Social People’s Party) and President of the CSV Committee of the North District.
Catherine Léglu is a medievalist specialising in Occitan and French literature. From 2011 to 2019, she was a professor of medieval French and Occitan literature at the University of Reading in the UK, where she headed the department of modern languages and European studies. Prior to this, she held the post of director of postgraduate education at the School of Literature and Languages of this university and School Director for Research. Before joining Reading, Ms. Léglu was attached to the departments of French studies at the University of Bristol and at Queen’s University in Belfast. She also taught at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. Professor Léglu holds a PhD in medieval Occitan and French literature from the University of Cambridge and is of French-British nationality. In September 2019, she took office as the Vice-Rector for academic affairs of the University of Luxembourg.
Martine Reicherts has held multiple positions during her career. She was Deputy Head of Cabinet in the cabinet of President Jacques Santer, as well as his spokesperson. She was also Director General of the Publications Office of the European Union, European Commissioner in charge of the Justice portfolio for 4 months, Director General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture. Since February 2018, she has been a member of the board of the Central Bank in Luxembourg and since December 2019, she is President of the National Research Fund in Luxembourg. Mrs Reicherts is also President of the Luxembourg Federation of Yoga Teachers, member of the strategic council, University of Aix/Marseille, France, member of the board of the Alumni Europae, member of the board of the Solistes européens Luxembourg and President of the Mouvement européen Luxembourg.
Alexiane Terrochaire-Barbançon is the Brexit Reality Portraits’ project manager. She is 22 years old and she recently graduated from the London School of Economics & Sciences Po in European Affairs. She has been a pro-EU youth activist since 2019, and she is currently YEM UK’s International Officer, and Volt France’s Human Resources lead. She is passionate about the EU’s youth policies & the EU’s cultural, educational diplomacy.