The road to Brexit

Possible future Scenarios: Today, there is no more serious issue than Brexit, Sajjad Karim observes on Euractiv, and, as Matthew d’Ancona suggests on the Guardian, it may actually end in a terrible mistake. Two possible case scenarios are evaluated on EUROPP. First, Tim Oliver illustrates a “harsh Brexit”, where tensions with the EU escalates to mutual distrust. Unsurprisingly, in such case the UK may expect the worst economic output, insofar as the other member states may be tempted to punish it, in order to preserve unity and dissuade emulation. As for the EU, it may either dissolve if Brexit is combined with Grexit or other problematic issues, or consolidate, since history tells us that the EU has often integrated in the face of crises. Second, Swati Dhingra tries to investigate the opposite scenario, where the UK and the EU break up on friendly terms and quickly reach some kind of deal. Even in this case, however, trade and investments are expected to fall and cost dearly to the average british family. In any case, the Swiss model for a post Brexit UK is not an option, Christian Teevs explains on Der Spiegel. Even ignoring the time required to set up 25 different bilateral agreements, and the willingness to do so on the part of member states, such model crucially does not include financial services, which are crucial for the UK economy. Franz Nauschnigg, on Social Europe, adds that Swiss growth is still inferior to Austria’s, which may indicate that such a deal would still net a loss, compared to full market access. In any case, this kind of agreement is explicitly denied by Wolfgang Schauble, interviewed by Der Spiegel, who declares that out means out and not half in, even if this turns out to be costly for both the UK and the EU. The UK may change its mind later and, if it so wishes, rejoin the EU, but there are no other deals on the plate.

Who votes for what?

This week, several articles discuss the distribution of preferences among voters. Richard Adams, on the Guardian, highlights students’ and academics’ preference against Brexit. On the Economist, it is that of women who seem to be the group more willing to stay within the EU. While in the past women were long seen as bastions of conservatism, nowadays they still drift towards the center, but in the current context this means opposing the far-right. According to Sunder Katwala, on Conservativehome, many ethnic voters would be willing to support Brexit, as they have a stronger than average attachment to being British or practical and emotional ties to the Commonwealth.

More or less sovereignty

The Financial Times debunks the idea that the UK would be more sovereign outside of the EU, by distinguishing between the “substance and symbols of sovereignty” (quoting Margaret Thatcher). Real sovereignty is the capacity to advance the security and prosperity of the nation and this is accomplished better within the EU than outside of it.

Brexit’s current fallout

Many columnists think that the referendum has already done much damage. On Opendemocracy, Aurelien Mondon argues that whatever its outcome, framing a false alternative between a neoliberal Britain inside a neoliberal EU, and a neoliberal Britain outside a neoliberal EU has obscured the real issue: how the EU and the neoliberal paradigm are deficient and how they might be reformed. Gareth Harding, on EUobserver, quotes a survey of 10 EU states by the Pew Research Centre which shows how 49% of Europeans still views the EU as an unfavourable institution. From this, he argues that British hostility towards the EU has already spread across a continent where euroscepticism is now the new normal. On CarnagieEurope, Judy Dempsey laments that there has been a noticeable trend across the EU involving the re-nationalization of policy, from foreign, security, and defense issues to economic and migration questions. Even if Britain leaves, no more integration is to be expected because other countries have become Eurosceptic as well. But more integration is precisely what is needed, claims Jan Zielonka interviewed on Eurozine. We need genuine reforms but not of the kind asked by Cameron, which do not support neither the interests of the EU at large, nor of the UK, but just of the Conservative party.


This Ideas Monitor is by Giulia Bistagnino and Carlo Burelli


Photo Credits CC: Norbert Reimer


Download PDF

Leave a comment
  • Facebook