Brexit: Better or worse and for whom? The psychology of a European-British or of a British-European?

Half of Brits want to stay in the European Union, while the rest want out.

Finally, the British Prime Minister David Cameron kept his campaign promises. On the one hand,firstly, he applied to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk in order to start negotiations with the European Council regarding the status of the United Kingdom’s cooperation with the EU, and secondly, on the other hand, after when the negotiations have been completed, announced a referendum – bringing even forward referendum’s date by one year- for the United Kingdom to stay or not in the European Union.

The term "Brexit" refers to Britain's possible exit from the EU -- the political and economic partnership of 28 European countries. 

The United Kingdom, comprising England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is to hold a referendum, or nationwide vote, on a potential withdrawal from the EU.

The Conservatives -or Tories- as a high percentage of Britons have never been very enthusiastic about the integration of their country in the EEC (European Economic Community) and later even less in the European Union. This negative attitude is to due to geographical reasons, mainly historical and political reasons. The idea of any or further transfer of sovereignty was always dominated by a fear. British always felt different, living on their island and doing an easy life . And today, when they talk about Europe, they use the term “continent”.

The EU was created in 1993 (it was an expansion of the earlier European Economic Community), with “ever closer union” as one of its founding principles. European leaders hoped to gradually transform Europe from a collection of sovereign nations into a single European superstate. But that process has slowed over the past decade, leaving the EU awkwardly straddling the line between being one nation and many.

Traditionally, the British didn’t prefer to interfere in the political developments of the continental Europe.However, during the centuries they used to watch them carefully and when a risk prevailed that Europe will be ruled a single force, as for example during the era of Napoleon in France or, even later with the Nazis Germany, they used to intervene to change that. British, even after the WWII, considered themselves as different ones from the Europeans living in the “continent”. Nonetheless, they joined the European Union and pushed their “own” politics since their entry “in the club” despite concerns inside and outside the UK. British were never attracted by the idea of a truly united Europe regarding a political,economic and defense union.

British never hid their preference to see for a European Union more “loose”, a more open financial market without established borders and a fixed number of member states. It was in this spirit that they always were for the entry of Turkey and other member states in European Union without fulfilling the criteria of an entry. We see now some Visegrad countries not fulfilling the criteria of a post-communist democratic system to stay in Europe.

The Economist reports that since Mr Cameron first promised an in/out referendum in a speech at the London office of the Bloomberg news agency in January 2013, there has usually been a clear lead for staying in (see chart 1). As worries have grown over Europe’s economic woes and its migration crisis, the gap has narrowed. The adverse reception of Mr Cameron’s Brussels deal and the decision of Mr Johnson to throw his weight behind the leave campaign may shift opinion further.
The immediate effects of a Brexit vote are likely to be bad. Prolonged uncertainty over Britain’s new relationship with the EU will discourage investment, especially foreign direct investment, of which Britain is the biggest net recipient in the EU. This is particularly worrying for a country with a large current-account deficit that must be financed by capital inflows. Fears about the current account, Britain’s credit rating and Brexit have been drivers of the pound’s recent fall.
  • Norway and Iceland have access to the single market through their membership of the European Economic Area (EEA). But they are obliged to observe all the EU’s single-market regulations without having a say in them, to make payments into the EU budget (in Norway’s case, around 90% of Britain’s net payment per head) and to accept free movement of EU migrants.
  • Switzerland, which is not in the EEA, has negotiated bilateral agreements that give access for goods but not most services. It has to keep to most single-market rules, contribute to the budget and accept free movement of people.
  • Countries such as South Korea and, now, Canada, have free-trade deals with the EU that do not require observing all its rules, paying into the budget or accepting migrants. But such deals do not circumvent non-tariff barriers, nor do they cover financial services. Moreover, the EU has or is negotiating free-trade deals with America, China and India, from which a post-Brexit Britain would be excluded. The EU has 53 such deals. Britain would have to try to replicate them, a huge challenge given its lack of trade negotiators and the length of time even simple trade talks take.

And Scottish people will push for a new referendum regarding their independence. Scottish president said last week in a speech in London that :

“Having access to the European single market has removed barriers to trade and gives freedom to move capital, people, good and services – but the EU is not simply an economic union, it is so much more than that. Being part of the EU is also about solidarity, social protection and mutual support”

The Uk government’s first official analysis into how Brexit would unfold in practice says a decade of uncertainty would hit “financial markets, investment and the value of the pound”. It also warns that the rights of 2 million British expats to work and access pensions and healthcare in EU countries may no longer be guaranteed.

The Refugee Crisis
For Uk’s Daily Mail bumbling bureaucrats in Brussels and a generation of bickering politicians seem incapable of responding to the Continent’s biggest crisis since the Second World War. The result is that this weekend it is reaching crunch point. This is disturbing as our nation debates its place in Europe – for those scenes confronting me in Athens will sway many voters, fearful some will end up in Britain…Whether Britain votes to stay or go, it is going to have to change fundamentally if it is to survive.

The United Kingdom Independence Party, founded in the 1990s with an explicit goal of opposing British membership in the EU, has gained supporters in recent years by focusing on an anti-immigrant platform. The party won 12 percent of the vote in the 2015 election — good enough for third place.

The Syrian refugee crisis has created a political environment in which anti-immigrant and anti-EU politics can find broader support. Few Syrians have made it to British shores, but the flood of Syrian refugees into other EU nations and last year’s terrorist attacks in Paris have raised fears about border security more generally.

Europe’s Greek Syndrome

  • An argument for the Brexit is the situation which  Greece faces by  being a “complete” member of the European Union (Schengen + Eurozone member) :

The Greek economy was suffering from a severe economic downturn caused in part by a Europe-wide monetary policy that was insufficiently stimulative for Greece. The downturn worsened Greece’s already large deficit, which meant that Greece needed to ask European leaders for more financial aid. But European leaders were reluctant to provide it, because they worried it would establish a precedent and encourage other countries to engage in reckless spending in the future.

If Greece were an independent country with its own currency, it could have addressed the crisis by devaluing its currency and stabilizing its debt with depreciated cash.

On the other hand, if the EU were a single, sovereign nation like the United States, it would have a nationwide, federally funded social safety net, which would have meant that a local economic downturn would not have been as devastating to Greece’s budget.

Instead, Greece was stuck with the worst of both worlds: It didn’t have the autonomy to deal with the crisis itself, nor were there EU-wide institutions powerful enough to address it effectively. (Vox)

Related Articles:

United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016

Brexit would negatively affect lives of millions, official UK report says

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«Brexit» ou «Eurexit» ?

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2 thoughts on “Brexit: Better or worse and for whom? The psychology of a European-British or of a British-European?”

  1. Historically the Labour Party was always ‘Eurosceptic’ to use the modern term and the Tories, including Thatcher, were in favour of the EU because they knew that an expanded labour market would put downward pressure on labour costs; and so it has come to pass.

    By the way, why did France and Germany close the doors on immigration from Eastern Europe until 2011, when the UK allowed it from 2004? France and Germany are happy to lecture the rest of us on what it means to be ‘European’ but change the rules when it suits them.

    Liked by 1 person

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