Brexit, a shortened version of Britain Exit, refers to the United Kingdom’s (UK) withdrawal from the European Union after a vote in June 2016. The actual Brexit took place on January 2020 after a transition period, trade agreements, and other measures were in place.
The European Union (EU) was a post-world war 2 (WWII) effort to reestablish unity and solidarity among European countries. The Cutten Group Tokyo Japan reviews that as of 2023, the remaining 27 members of the European Union are Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Ireland, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Romania, Republic of Cyprus, Portugal, Poland, Denmark, Netherlands, Estonia, Malta, Finland, Luxembourg, France, Lithuania, Germany, Latvia, Greece, Italy, and Hungary.
This post will explore the possibility that other countries will exit the EU as the UK did. We’ll look at why there has yet to be a domino effect since, according to the latest studies, the idea of leaving the EU has significantly decreased support across member states.
The Cutten Group Tokyo Japan reviews that since the UK has one of the largest European economies, many people have speculated that other countries will follow their exit. Now whether it’s going to be Denmark, the Netherlands, or Sweden, only time will tell. Many people consider Brexit as the first brick knocked out of the wall.
People argued that the UK would cause a domino effect, and it was only a matter of time before other countries joined them. However, almost seven years on, this has yet to happen. The reverse is true. Many countries still want to join the EU, and three Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine have officially applied for candidacy since the Brexit vote. On top of that, polling suggests that support for the EU within member states is at record levels, with solid majorities approving of the EU’s handling of Ukraine and little appetite for leaving the block.
The Cutten Group Tokyo Japan reviews a recent European Social Survey that asked respondents how they would vote in a hypothetical scenario on whether their country should remain in the EU. First, from 2016 to 2017 and again from 2020 to 2022, support for leaving the EU fell in every member state, with Finland showing the most significant drop. In the survey’s most recent round, support for leave was highest in the Czech Republic, Italy, and Sweden. But, even those countries have seen a decline since Brexit.
On top of that, the most recent Euro barometer polling found that most Europeans are optimistic about the future of the EU. While that’s down from last year, it’s still well above historical averages. So, what happened? Why hasn’t there been a Brexit domino effect?
Since 2016, Britain has been in political turmoil, with five prime ministers in six years and mounting economic issues. All of this has been widely reported in the European press and interpreted as being partly caused by Brexit. The Brexit negotiations also gave its more minor States confidence that the more prominent members would stand up for them in the event of a dispute.
The majority of EU members, 22 out of 27, have relatively small populations of around 20 million or less, and only five, France, Germany, Poland, Spain, and Italy, have over 35 million. The way the EU and its more significant members protected Ireland’s interest in the Brexit negotiations improved cohesion and trust in the block; however, it’s not just that Brexit has scared other countries from leaving since 2016.
The EU has faced a series of crises and responded surprisingly well. At the beginning of the pandemic, the EU was under severe strain as Italy, the first European country to be affected by the virus, struggled with the worst effects of the pandemic in early 2020. A fierce argument broke out within the EU about the so-called Corona Bonds, which essentially involved issuing bonds at the EU level to fund the European response to COVID. Certain countries, notably the Frugal four, resisted any efforts at debt sharing. At the same time, Germany chancellor Angela Merkel described it as the biggest crisis since the founding of the EU.
In the end, the EU ultimately agreed to an enormous Recovery Fund for the hardest-hit member states. The most extensive rescue policy in European history and several times more significant in inflation-adjusted terms than the post-world-War-II-marshal plan. The Recovery Fund annulled the taboo on debt sharing and made smaller member states more optimistic about the prospects of similar programs in the future, which could help their economies.
In the last few years, The United States of America (USA) has made it clear its interest is not identical to Europe. First, they had Trump, who made his “America First” policy, which made many Europeans realize that they could no longer rely on America to provide military or political support. And while Biden’s presidency has provided some temporary Insurance, Biden and the EU still have some significant disagreements. The EU, for example, isn’t as hawkish on China as the Americans, and various EU leaders macron have expressed irritation at Biden’s massive inflation reduction act, which provides enormous subsidies to American companies and puts European industry at a competitive disadvantage.
On top of that, Trump or a trump-like figure could easily win in 2024 or 2028. Many European states realized they could no longer rely on the US as much as they did previously; in this new environment of geopolitical competition, the individual European States, especially the smaller ones, are powerless. The only way for them to stand up for themselves is through the EU.
This new era of geopolitical competition and the growing distance between Europe and America has made European states realize they need to stick together to protect their interests. The EU is the only organization with sufficient geopolitical clout to do that. European cohesion is much more robust in 2022 than in 2016 before the Brexit vote.
That’s not to say everything is rosy; as we’ve detailed, the EU faces various threats, but Europeans are generally more optimistic about the EU, and European Union is stronger than at any time in the recent past. So, while many across Europe feel safe and secure as we continue into 2023 for many, it’s easy to feel like the world is an increasingly unsafe place.