Will Brexit be a ‘game-changer’ for the EU?

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Professor Brigid Laffan is Director of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and Director of the Global Governance Programme at the EUI.

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Professor Brigid Laffan

The EU has faced multiple crises since the onset of the Great Recession and Brexit would be one more. It would alter policy and power balances in the EU. Its most significant impact would however relate to membership- what it means to be a member state. It would profoundly alter the sense that EU membership is forever, is irreversible. This does not mean that there would be a queue for exit although the ‘membership’ question would be raised in other countries and perhaps others would follow leading to disintegration. Brexit itself would be a long and difficult process involving negotiations on the unravelling of legal, budgetary, trade and financial ties. It would affect all EU policy fields and all those EU nationals who live in the UK and UK nationals who live in other EU member states. It would be a messy and damaging divorce.

 

 

Professor Ramon Marimon is Pierre Werner Chair at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and Joint Chair in Economics and the RSCAS.

Professor Ramon Marimon

Professor Ramon Marimon

As financial markets have anticipated, a pro-Brexit referendum opens up uncertainties that will take considerable time to clear–a costly scenario for both sides of the Channel. But a (more likely) ‘remain’ result may also signal the Brexit challenge as one of many events to come, not only in Europe or at the EU level. Widespread distrust in institutions and functional elites gives the advantage to self-centered populist movements and leaders, jeopardizing the same institutions under attack and, in particular, the current and future benefits of European integration. There is no time to lose and European leaders need to move in clarifying differences across the European Union and the Euro Area and in consolidating the institutions that govern our interdependence.

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