An island nation always looking beyond into far off lands Britain never felt physically or culturally a part of Europe. A global superpower for over three centuries it did not really consider other European nations as equals. Moreover, it perpetually felt hamstrung by other European underlings with their laws and regulations. Little wonder it is Britain’s older generation with their memories of a grandiose nation who decided to vote with their feet and have now decided to go it alone. Also, Britain’s European credentials were always a half-way-house. London was there in Europe but was never there. Imagine any grand treaty initiated by Britain during the time it was in the EU?
With the decision to “leave” Britain could seek to carve out a niche for itself at the larger world stage. It did not need the EU to reach out to rest of the world in the past. It will not need Europe’s help in that matter now. Britain has a successful track record of bilateral diplomacy. It will now successfully use that to promote its economic, defense, and political interests.
There has always been a typical British way of doing business. Now wonder it was labelled as a nation of shopkeepers. It can now build on that asset. China, India or Japan, are not part of any major economic or political bloc. If these new nations can be successful powers what will prevent Britain from going down such a path?
Nothing changes in the European military architecture with Brexit. NATO is and shall always be the trans-Atlantic security umbrella for all Europeans including Britain. What Britain can do now is follow am independent foreign and military policy. This would allow it not only to control its borders more effectively but pursue policies that are not restricted by European laws and sentiments.
With Brexit it is the beginning of the end of the Jean Monet’s European Union project. There are plenty of dissatisfied Europeans who would like to run their own affairs. EU has always been a marriage of convenience. Once the rest of member nations realise they are not getting what they were expecting from this matrimony they would begin the divorce process.
The richer nations on the northern borders the Scandinavians, and the likes of the Netherlands and Denmark will no seriously entertain the leave question. That leaves us with France and Germany. These two powers can continue to be the center of unity, if they can provide what rest of the poorer member nations want – free handouts. Should they fail in their resolve to be the provider there will be a slow march from the European project.
Once the poorer nations on the margin realize there is no such thing as a free lunch their clamor to be good citizens of Europe will dampen significantly. We saw that during Greek bailout in 2015. Now with Britain deciding to say NO to free movement of labor some other states will have to take that burden. Failure to address the needs of these “poor” and “hungry” will be a spanner in the European Wheel of progress.
Senior Lecturer of International Studies at Lancaster University
Com a intenção de saída da União Europeia por parte do Reino Unido, o #Brexit tomou forma e liderou o referendo de ontem.
Ao longo do dia de hoje, iremos partilhar as opiniões de várias especialistas, académicos e cidadãos europeus sobre esta viragem na História Europeia.