‏Will Post-Brexit European Union Crumble?

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The European Union‭ (‬EU‭) ‬has for long been regarded as a successful model of regional conglomerate‭, ‬especially after the large expansion‭ (‬28‭ ‬nations‭) ‬but the British vote in favor of exiting the EU in 2016‭ ‬raised compelling questions about EU future‭. ‬Despite stumbled Britain’s EU exit over differences about exit terms and conditions the landslide win by the Conservative Party under Boris Johnson in the December 2019‭ ‬elections gave Johnson a rock-solid mandate to exit EU by 31‭ ‬January 2020‭, ‬especially after bagging the biggest‭ ‬365-seat win for the Conservatives since Margaret Thatcher’s win in 1987‭. ‬
EU Brexit‭, ‬a strong blow to the European Union considering Britain’s economic and political weight‭, ‬translates into losing 12.5%‭ ‬of population‭, ‬15%‭ ‬of economic prowess and 73‭ ‬seats in the European Parliament‭. ‬EU Brexit will‭, ‬moreover‭, ‬form a cross-Atlantic Anglo-American trade pact against the European Union‭, ‬which will definitely undermine EU-US relations‭, ‬considering the fact that Britain’s EU stay would have mitigated US stand against EU‭.‬
The EU Brexit referendum revealed that the negative attitude toward the EU was not restricted to Britain‭, ‬but extended to include some other European nations‭. ‬Pew Research Center June 2016‭ ‬questionnaire showed that the majority of respondents were against‭ ‬the EU‭: ‬71%‭ ‬in Greece and 71%‭ ‬in France‭, ‬while EU public support in the latter dwindled to 17%‭ ‬between 2015‭ ‬and 2016‭, ‬and that‭ ‬the EU lost 16‭ % ‬and 6%‭ ‬in Spain and Italy respectively during the same period‭.‬
Challenges facing the EU do not just stop there‭. ‬They extend to include‭:‬
Rising populist currents in many European countries which take an unfavorable stand vis-à-vis the EU because of their narrow patriotism-based inclinations‭. ‬Many of these currents managed to join the European parliaments‭, ‬which helped their leaders coordinate their efforts inside EU institutions‭. ‬One such leader is Marie Le Pen‭, ‬President of the National Rally in France who voiced repeatedly her wish that her country exit the EU and promised a Brexit-style national referendum be held in case she made her way‭ ‬through the Elysees‭. ‬Another example is Geert Wilders‭, ‬Leader of the Party for Freedom in Holland‭, ‬who called for EU exit‭.‬
Widening gap among EU nations over many issues‭, ‬which was clear during the past few years‭, ‬with regard to migration‭, ‬relation with Russia and foreign policy in general‭. ‬It prompted the Luxembourg Foreign Minister to say in July 2018‭ ‬that the EU was at risk‭ ‬as some member states lost their faith in inter-dependence‭.‬
US President Donald Trump’s stand against the EU which encourages Brexit‭. ‬Trump prefers to deal with the European nations on individual basis rather than‭ ‬in a conglomerate to exercise pressure in trade negotiations‭. ‬During his visit to Britain in June 2019‭ ‬he urged a unilateral Brexit and said he was ready to sign a trade agreement and stronger economic alliance with London‭. ‬He‭, ‬moreover‭, ‬urged Britain to not pay financial entitlements to the EU‭.‬
Some maintain that EU dramatic expansion‭, ‬especially by including many Eastern European countries‭, ‬was one of the reasons which‭ ‬undermined‭, ‬and led to the disintegration of‭, ‬the EU‭, ‬whose expansion was previously regarded as an asset‭. ‬The nay-sayers cited‭ ‬varying values between western and eastern European countries‭. ‬The latter ones resented the absence of peer-to-peer treatment on‭ ‬the part of their western counterparts within the EU‭.‬
Accordingly‭, ‬a paper was submitted by the European Commission in March 2017‭ ‬about EU future‭. ‬Several scenarios were offered‭: ‬follow the same course‭, ‬revive the Common Market‭ (‬trading bloc‭) ‬formula‭, ‬Coalition of the Willing‭ (‬converting the EU into marginal‭ ‬blocs of‭ ‬homologous nations capable of working together‭), ‬cooperation relativity‭ (‬broaden scope of cooperation in areas of agreement and narrow scope of cooperation in areas of disagreement‭) ‬and develop EU and boost inter-cooperation‭.‬
The EU is‭, ‬no doubt‭, ‬facing a set of complex issues which led it to lose the steam it used to maintain for many years‭. ‬It is true that the EU lost its prowess and influence on the international stage but the following considerations make it hard to believe‭ ‬that Brexit could lead the EU to crumble‭:‬
Britain used to maintain a special status within the EU‭. ‬Affiliation was never perfect‭ (‬it refused to join the common European currency‭) ‬and was always closer to the United States than the EU‭.‬
‭ ‬Certain European countries‭, ‬like France and Germany‭, ‬are adamantly devoted to a durable coherent EU‭. ‬These nations will do whatever it takes to maintain the EU during the forthcoming stage‭. ‬The French President‭, ‬Emmanuel Macron‭, ‬who maintains the view to‭ ‬develop‭, ‬energize and reform‭, ‬the EU wrote in an article which was published in March 2019‭ ‬arguing‭ ‬“We cannot allow zero-solution nationalists to take advantage of public anger”‭. ‬He offered a number of EU reform proposals to establish a European agency for protecting EU member states’‭ ‬elections against cyber-attacks and manipulation‭, ‬place an embargo on financing political parties by foreign powers‭, ‬incriminate hate speech across the internet‭, ‬reform Schengen free travel zone‭, ‬etc‭.‬
Some argue that EU Brexit will deepen a sense of insecurity about EU future‭, ‬thus likely boosting solidarity and unity among member states‭. ‬

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