Brexit – The Beginning of the End?

The prospective of an exit of the UK from the EU has turned from a distant opportunity and a bargain chip into something quite real. It very well may happen that early this summer the EU will lose, for the first time, a member state.

For the EU, this could mark a potential watershed beyond which a much loser agglomeration of states would constitute a weaker union. Also, a less liberal one. There would be a whole range of agreements that have to be annulled, or re-negotiated. The EU also would have to secure its fabric and avoid that other member states also claim special rights for themselves.

For the UK a phase of deep uncertainties would begin. There are no bilateral trade agreements with individual member states of the EU. The future of the City of London would be even more uncertain. And Scotland may finally opt to leave the rest UK.

So would the EU become more consistent without a UK notoriously asking for a special relationship? Or would this indicate the beginning of the end?

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Brexit – The Beginning of the End?
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Brexit – The Beginning of the End?
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The prospective of an exit of the UK from the EU has turned from a distant opportunity and a bargain chip into something quite real. It very well may happen that early this summer the EU will lose, for the first time, a member state.
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  1. Alexei Voskressenski 2 years ago

    Discussing Brexit would not mean the end of the EU though, without Britain, the EU is different even if it does not collapse but expand, clearly not in a European direction. The most intriguing question is how a Little England (the term belonging to Dr. Anand Mennon from King’s College, England) without being a EU member will compensate for declining national capabilities, most importantly economic ones? Historically, the “small state with great ambitions” (as it was once called by one senior American diplomat) has been an active player in world affairs and an important part of a global economic system. With a Foreign Office budget cut by 20% since 2010 with another possible cut by 20 to 40% and the army shrinking to 82.000, Britain is already called by some Russians a “third world state.” Within and with the EU, Britain is playing a role in world affairs, and has a chance to improve after its economic restructuring. After Brexit Britain (not Great, of course) may strike a special economic deal with China and further hail Londongrad (as it was called by Russians), but will loose a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and thus becomes of less interest to the USA, and even China. So what can the UKachieve alone in this new world which is uncertain even for such big players as the EU, the USA and China?

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  2. Justas Paleckis 2 years ago

    I hope that the British will overcome the island’s mentality and will vote against Brexit. On the other hand, I remember the shock of 2001 in the diplomatic missions in London when I worked there as Lithuanian Ambassador to the UK and Ireland. The Irish were preparing to vote on the Nice Treaty. All the political parties in Ireland (except one), trade unions, business, the church spoke out in favour of “yes”. The polls predicted a clear victory for the referendum. And yet the Irish said ‘no’.

    The procedure for one or the other member state’s withdrawal from the EU is legally defined in the Lisbon treaty, but no one knows how it would work in practice. The withdrawal would cause confusion in the UK as well as in the decreased EU. I do not rule out the possibility that after a certain time the UK will ask for a chance to come back into the EU again (France vetoed its entry twice about 50 years ago). In the decreased EU there more countries would appear seeking for a special relationship with the EU, and even threatening to follow the British example.

    The EU has to deal with unprecedented challenges. Therefore, even after the loss of the UK, the union is unlikely to be able to take a path of strengthened cooperation, even though such an option would be beneficial for both the EU and its member states. It is clear that the EU would have to face increasing centrifugal tendencies and to confront the thriving nationalism in many countries.

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6 Comments

  1. worldklaus 2 years ago

    The EU will offer the UK any possible option to re-join the union at a later point, or will try to find alternative constructs of affiliation. By doing so, the UK has no real incentive to stay in the EU, as it can “test drive” autonomy, with limited risk implication. The stakes are much higher for the EU, as a BREXIT will lead to high level of uncertainty, by setting precedent for leaving the EU. If the UK leaves the EU, one way or another, than ofcourse the European project has failed. Naturally there will be union constructs, but the EU as we know if today will cease to exit. Since my last post 3 weeks ago, Draghi did even intensify his high risk “cheap money” strategy. I do believe that major EU countries like Italy and Spain would be very close to bankruptcy if the interest rate were higher, in regards to monetary aspects the EU is in a very critical and probably desperate situation. A Brexit would certainly put additional stress on the EU’s financial situation. My point of view is, that the common currency for the EU is a failed concept and will lead to the collapse of the EU anyway, if we do not implement drastic measures as for example transition to a transfer union. The EU has way bigger problems to solve than BREXIT, but in the current stage a Brexit could prove fatal for the existence of the EU.

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  2. Jim Jordan 2 years ago

    Its hardly suprising that Ambassador Paleckis would like the UK to remain in the EU. As things stand at the moment the UK acts as a recepticle for Lithuania’s surplus labour and members of its criminal classes. It would be interesting to know what contribution British welfare payments make to its current account as well, especially those payments for children who are not resident here in the first place. We are better off without you both financially and as a matter of public safety.

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    1. worldklaus 1 year ago

      After 8 years living in the US, the achievements of the EU, by all the financial issues, seem to me unbelievable. By taking a historical perspective, its apparent how the EU did move from being a violent unsafe place for most of its past to being the leader in post-state development. I am all for the “United States of Europe”, that’s how we can preserve our cultural diversity. None of the EU member states will be able to withstand the forces of “globalization” on its own.

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    2. Argonaut 1 year ago

      Jim
      I am going to take exception to your comment and regarding Lithuania’s Surplus labour etc. The vast majority of Lithuanians and Polish that come to the UK work very hard at usually minimum wage. UK Employer exploitation might be worth further scrutiny! The criminal elements of any society will travel and make use of travel freedoms and that is not a problem that is specifically Lithuanian. There are long standing historical relationships between our respective countries.Whilst EU immigration policy is undoubtedly defective, it is immigration from beyond Europe (and the growth and tolerance of violent religious extremism) that is the problem. The poles and the Lithuanians bring compatible religious belief, work hard and and really do not threaten our western European Life.

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  3. Soksamphoas Im 2 years ago

    I first thought the UK just play a fantasy politic with the EU, but now when this fantasy comes closer to reality it’s only proven mutual weaknesses of both sides, the EU and the Brit themselves. This exiting notion goes against the direction of the EU of rather expanding but shrinking. The Brit as an empire member state shouldn’t make himself too selfish, and trying to run away from home while its family members run into crisis.

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  4. Magnus Zimmermann 12 months ago

    Great Britain’s decision to leave the EU could pose a serious risk since it could be followed by other member states eventually leading to the collapse of the EU. Whether this happens depends highly on how the EU will react to this decision. Making any kind of concessions and allowing Great Britain to keep acceess to the common market and free mobility would encourage other member states to follow Great Britain’s example. Therefore the EU will have to make a clear statement and cut Great Britain from all the benefits of a EU membership. It has to become clear that profiting from the EU is only possible as a full member with all the duties and benefits. In case this is made clear, the Brexit could even serve as a chance to affirm EU’s identity and bonds to its citizens. Many EU citizens are taking the common market and currency, as well as free mobility for granted. The Brexit actually made people aware of the fragility of those benefits. Another striking question is how it was possible, that voices calling for an exit from the EU became that loud and found support in a big part of the population. Obviously the EU failed to be accepted as a concept by many of its citizens. Where is this lack of identification coming from? The EU will have to work harder to gain credibility and popularity amongst its citizens.

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