BREXIT

Quelques jours après le vote du Brexit au Royaume-Uni, il parait indispensable de s’intéresser aux conséquences économiques et politiques que va provoquer cette décision. Cet article a été écrit quelques jours avant la décision du 23 juin. Nous anticipions alors les différentes conséquences de cet événement, par rapport au monde, à l’Union Européenne et au premier ministre désormais déchu, David Cameron.

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The Brexit is the possibility that Great Britain could leave the European Union. During the last general elections in May 2015, David Cameron promised to organize a referendum about the possibility of a Brexit in 2016. As Cameron promised, the referendum will be on June, 23rd. Nowadays, in the British population, there is a real desire to quit the European Union because the United Kingdom is faring better than other countries like Spain or France and they think they could do better if they were not part of the European Union. This is not the first time there has been a referendum about Britain’s membership in Europe: a few decades ago, in 1975, they chose to stay in the European Economic Community (EEC) as Britain was weak economically while the EEC was strong. However, today’s new challenges illustrate the opposite and this situation could trigger a split between the island and the continent.

I) David Cameron and the Brexit

David Cameron is determined to maintain Britain’s membership in the European Union: he is against a Brexit. After having negotiated with the European Union, David Cameron said that he will « put heart and soul » into staying in the European Union.

In fact, this new deal gives a « special » settlement to the United Kingdom in the European Union and besides, it allows them to stop paying the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy), to reduce the quota of migrants.

However, as he said during his annual interview on BBC1, he will « remain Prime Minister if he loses the European referendum », but his stance on Brexit could affect his power and discredit his authority. In fact, whatever happens, he will be weakened by this campaign, because according to statistics 43% of people are in favor of a Brexit, 39% want to remain in the European Union, and 18% don’t know what their future choice will be; so he will divide nearly half of the British public opinion. In case of a Brexit, he will have no choice: he’ll have to resign because it will mean that the major part of the population disagrees with his policy. As a conclusion, David Cameron could be really weakened by this event and it could ignite an in-fighting in British political parties.

On the other hand, we can say that he doesn’t fear to take risks for what he believes is the best for his country and doesn’t act for selfish reasons, because this referendum will be a chancy affair.

II) Great Britain faced with the Brexit

        Currently, several referendums have been organized to ask the United Kingdom’s people their opinion about such a decision. The pollsters reveal a split in public opinion. As a matter of fact, a departure of Britain would generate many changes in Europe but more importantly, it could divide the entire United Kingdom. While David Cameron considers this decision may be beneficial to the economy, his opinion creates a few divisions. First, for the British people which is split according to the latest pollsters: the UK Independence Party, half of the Conservatives MPs, the DUP and several politicians from the Labour party are in favour of leaving. According to Brexit supporters, the European Union is imposing too many rules about business and taxes that hold Britain back, while it is considered as one of the most developed countries in Europe, so they want to develop the country freely, out of the European economic borders. Moreover, they disagree with the European migrant’s policy, they want to take control over their borders.

However, this point of view is not shared by all: David Cameron and the Labour Party, the SNP, the Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems are all in favour of staying in. Even Barack Obama has given his point of view saying he would rather see Britain remain in Europe, and other countries agree with him: France and Germany. These countries consider that Britain’s departure would damage Britain’s power in the world by reducing its ability to exchange with other European members and would isolate it. This isolation could turn into a real problem because of the terrorist climate, Britain could be a special target.

The Brexit debate leads to another question: the one of the United Kingdom’s unity. For the Scottish people who really want to stay in the European Union a Brexit would lead to its independence from the rest of the United Kingdom. Similarly, the Northern Irish status could change too.

In Great Britain, the Brexit decision has more consequences than just the departure from an economic organization.

III) Europe and the world: what are the consequences ?

The split between Europe and the United Kingdom could have several consequences on the European Union. The Brexit could trigger many changes in an economic and political organization that used to be guided by two mains countries: Germany and the United Kingdom. Moreover, because of the Scottish contestations about it and the demonstrations that may follow, Europe would be weakened for a long time. This unclear situation would contribute to strengthening Russia’s influence, according to the analysts. However, Russia is not known for being a great democracy. Thus the Brexit could represent quite a big threat for all the countries in Europe. Moreover, Greece is considered as being too involved in the crisis to be saved, therefore a « Grexit » is considered as a solution to keep Europe as a strong organization. Similarly, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Sweden are thinking of a possibility to leave the European Union. This domino effect would be in favour of Euroscepticism.

Nonetheless, these consequences are not only political, there is an economic dimension as well. On the one hand it is considered that the Brexit could lead the European Union to its own disintegration because Great Britain was considered as a leader in the economic organization. As a matter of fact, London is considered as the first financial place in the world. Its power would be an argument to prove the economic leadership of the European Union and ability to trade with other countries. On the other hand, the Brexit means that Great Britain won’t be politically involved in European affairs anymore. Nevertheless, globalization has led to the need for countries to be united, to be stronger and able to contest hot topics that would be too big for the countries alone. During his visit in England in April, Barack Obama talked about the possibility of a trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States of America even if he considers the Brexit as a political and economic disaster.

Conclusion:

A few days ago, the citizens of the United Kingdom chose to leave the European Union. A few minutes after the announcement, the value of the Sterling fell by 5% in Japan. Even if the economic consequences seem to be under control for the moment, there will be consequences all around the world. Moreover, David Cameron has finally decided to resign after the announcement and he said that he will let the new Prime Minister take the responsibility for the Brexit.

Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, asked for the constitution of a « Brexit government ». Until now, no one knows who the next Prime Minister will be and which party will guide the United Kingdom to the Brexit.

Alexis FALLAIT, Barbara CASTRO & Alexia WANGALA.

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