The 2021 Institute of European Law Annual Lecture was delivered by Professor Wolfgang Weiss from the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer on 9 December 2021 via Zoom.
After an introduction of the speaker by Professor Martin Trybus, Director of the IEL, Professor Weiss provided a critical evaluation on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, starting with a general overview of the agreement and then assessing its functionality. The Northern Ireland Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement (NI Protocol) has already demonstrated the difficulties of implementing a low-functioning, complex set of rules; it has triggered disagreements between the parties and gives rise to ongoing disputes and demands for treaty changes. Given this current backdrop to EU-UK trade relations, the question of whether the TCA will lead to a lasting stabilisation of EU-UK trade and political relations or whether, like the NI Protocol, it will be more of a treaty that continues to cause disputes due to its incompleteness, although perhaps not to the same extent as the NI Protocol, becomes relevant. The lecture offered a thought-provoking perspective of one of the central elements of the Brexit process - and a perspective from outside the United Kingdom at that. The possibly most important take-way for the participants was an increased understanding of the incompleteness of the TCA. There is still so much beyond Northern Ireland and fisheries to be agreed, the process is clearly ongoing.
Professor Dr. Wolfgang Weiß (English spelling Weiss), born in 1966, studied law and economics at the University of Bayreuth/Germany from 1988 to 1993. After completing his Dr. juris (1995) he became a fully qualified lawyer (Second State Exam in 1997), and a legal scholar. Having completed his Habilitation in 2000 he worked as Acting Professor at different German Universities and later became a Professor in International Law at Oxford Brookes University. From 2006 to 2008 he was also Professor in Public Law, European Law and Public International Law at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg before he took over a Chair in Public Law, European Law and Public International Law at the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer. Since 2015, he is a Senior Fellow to the German Research Institute for Public Administration in Speyer.