Saturday, Dec 10, 2022
×
Outlook.com
×

Domino Effect Will Hurt Europe

Domino Effect Will Hurt Europe

What size and shape Europe then takes is a question that has already begun to bother politicians and observers in the continent and beyond.

AP Photo/Matt Dunham

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union has set in motion a process that now seriously threatens the very existence of the 28-member EU. Similar demands coming up from other member nations about their future in the Union now looms large over Europe.

Until now, an EU membership was regarded as a one-way ticket. Though Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty provided members the right to leave the EU, no one really thought this provision will be ever used by them. Most felt that once you are in, you are here to stay.

Before the UK, Greenland, an autonomous overseas territory of Denmark, had pulled out of its union with Europe in 1982 through a referendum. Because of that EU lost out on about 60 per cent of its territory, but the decision had not sparked off a similar response from other members. In fact, the membership of the EU had only grown in numbers since then and helped the European Economic Council (EEC) to morph into the European Union in 1993.

But the UK is the second largest economy in the EU after Germany and along with France; its army makes a significant contribution to the economic and military muscle of the EU. Therefore, its exit from the Union will have a much larger and lasting impact on Europe.

Predictably, British Prime David Cameron has expressed his desire to resign after the UK’s decision. He had travelled widely in the country over the past weeks to convince people to vote in favour of the ‘remain’ camp in the referendum. The fact British voters ignored his advice naturally raises a big question about his ability to lead the country. His detractors in the party, like former London mayor Boris Johnson were looking for exactly such an outcome. The situation now provides them the opportunity to bid for the leadership of the ruling Conservative party. The political uncertainty among the ‘Tories’ can also lead to the possibility of fresh elections being held in the country.

While the future of an united Europe is serious question that many are pondering over, questions are also being raised about how integrated will the UK be after the Brexit decision? Unlike, England and Wales, where the majority voted to leave the EU, most people in Scotland and Northern Ireland have voted in favour of remaining within the Union. The voters in these two regions of UK now seeking similar votes to ascertain whether they should remain as part of the UK, is now a possibility that can no longer be brushed aside.

In Europe, right-wing, ultra-nationalist parties which had been on the rise, have already started demanding that their respective countries also re-visit their ties with the EU. Riding on the British momentum, these forces may get voters in their country also to ask for a withdrawal of their EU membership.

What size and shape Europe then takes is a question that has already begun to bother politicians and observers in the continent and beyond. For Brexit has unleashed a force that will not only re-interpret the United Kingdom’s future relations with the European Union but also the future status of these two entities at the global stage.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement