Πέμπτη, 16 Ιουνίου 2016

Does EU care about Brexit?

Less than fifteen days before the United Kingdom's (UK) referendum on Brexit, it seems that this topic is not at all on the frontline of public discourse in the European Union (EU). We are just witnessing "black o white" approaches, emphasizing on the dangers of leaving or the merits of staying in the EU. 
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A number of EU leaders and the President of the United States have stated that a possible exit would damage the UK in the sense that trade transactions and political influence will be severely weakened. Such statements have been coupled with ademonization of Brexit and the repercussions upon the status of UK in global scale, with many think-tanks in Brussels and the UK trying to depict these losses in numbers.
Literally, the damage of Brexit cannot be counted nor a clear image of the "next day" for the UK and the Britons can be provided. Similarly goes for the EU that has long forgotten to campaign in favor of its founding values. Truth is that the deep, structural, and introvert shift of the European establishment has caused a mounting democratic deficit. This is one of the biggest burdens for Brussels and other European capitals to seriously ponder and argue on what are the stakes of a Brexit.

The consequences of monolithic austerity in Eurozone, the impact of the refugee crisis towards unveiling the solidarity gap between the member-states, as well as therise of far-right parties are all forming a dangerous mixture that distances EU leaders and policy-makers from building on a new, convincing and attractive narrative for the EU. Europe is no more synonym to democracy, prosperity and freedom, with a serious debate on the future of the UK in the Union or, broadly, a discussion on the future of the EU being almost impossible to take place under the existing, restrained framework.    

Another element is that no matter if UK leaves or remains in the EU, this process has already created a new precedent: more and more member-states will start doubting on their own place in the EU, demanding more freedom in managing sensitive policy areas (e.g. labor market; refugee policy; budget policy) where EU role is becoming more restrictive and conservative. There is already a number of member-states moving to this direction, like Poland, Hungary, France, Finland, each one of them raising concerns on different policy areas and for different reasons.

After all, it might seem there is a reasoning behind keeping Brexit debate low; but this will not be the case after June 23, both for the UK and the EU. 
by Michel Barreau and JoãoTexeira

 Michel Barreau and JoãoTexeira are Junior Policy Analysts at Bridging Europe
sourche: http://www.bridgingeurope.net/does-eu-care-about-brexit.html

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