Alternatives&Analyses: Brexit – a lesson the EU still fails to grasp

Despite much ado about Brexit, EU politicians have failed to look beyond the pangs of emotions into why Britain left and how to deter future exits. Both the EU and the UK should share the responsibility, but such statements of the obvious do little help.

Britain’s leave has pushed to the fore existential catechisms of what is right and wrong in the EU and why countries might continue to feel underrepresented or guided in a direction and at a pace inconsistent with national interests.

While some of the United Kingdom’s motives are too specific to be replicated by other countries, such as nostalgia over the imperial past, a global role with UNSC seat, nuclear status, etc. most of the Brexit undercurrents have an EU related base.  Such flagrant disregard as to the core reasons for the Brexit warrants future shocks and possible exits.
There is growing evidence that the averages in balancing national interests at the EU level that generate the policy mainstream are neither automatically optimal nor sustainable. There are gaps in the integration precept, flawed process, and practices, rising impediments to healthy competition within the EU serving selfish national interests.

A recent point in the case is when France stepped in and initiated EU legislation restricting competition in the EU transport sector from more efficient CEE companies to protect the interests of French transport companies. The result is a less competitive and efficient EU transportation, higher prices,  and a larger share in the market for transport companies in non-EU countries.

The EU has opted to tax global US digital leaders instead of helping EU equivalents grow and compete. Market protection has become a dogma, blinding the fact that over-regulation and administration degenerate the market and ends in a loss of competitiveness.
What is good for one country is not necessarily fit for another. Best practices often do not rest with the bigger EU states. Yet larger countries have disproportionate weight in decision making, broader access to EU resources, and often choose national favorites at the expense of EU best ideas and companies.

These articles analyses and comments are made possible thanks to your empathy and contributions, which are the only guarantors of independence and objectivity in our work. The Alternatives and Analysis team.




Climate Change policies are another proof of the non-representative decision-making process.  Although not precisely the reason why Britain left, but they are a valid pointer of shifts in public opinion when Brussels forcefully imposes a policy with colossal social and economic impact. Fresh waves of Euroskepticism and new push for exits are just around the corner. 

Although energy policies, as essential elements of national security, have been left to national discretion, the ‘stick’ and punishments for non-compliance rests at an EU level, limiting the distance between disruptive and adaptive policies. The CC policies in general and the Green Deal, in particular, miss a detailed and comprehensive impact assessment and risk analysis at individual EU country level. The notion that only big countries like Britain can leave defies common sense.

Geographical proximity is a definite prerequisite for solidarity and joint action, that justify different community formats. Still, there are enough instances in Europe of prosperous states that are not members of the EU. Henceforth, EU membership is a secondary factor to adequate, visionary, and globally competitive public governance.  To rule out that countries will, by default, be lost without the EU is a gross exaggeration.  Many in the EU chose to consider Britain ‘insane’ and doomed, just because it dared to opt-out of the EU, which is utterly shortsighted. Why should Britain fail, when Norway and Switzerland have succeeded?

Why not listen to the grievances of the half-hearted Brexiteers among British people who have voted for the British Conservatives, despite most opinioning ‘remain’? What changed their mind at the last minute?
How would a British taxpayer feel when across the Continent oligarchя abuse their money in EU funds, and no one seems to care.
There is a profound detachment between national and EU policies. The Green Deal was conceived and forced upon EU members from the top without even bothering to ask national parliaments – whether a 50 percent reduction by 2030 is doable, and at what cost? Whether the amount of associated destruction will not outweigh the benefits and undermine living standards, national security, and existential demographics.

Britain felt isolated by the Franch-German tandem in its attempt to decide what is good or bad for the EU. And true, Britain was too big to be ignored and to accept with humility the outcome of a preordained decision-making process.  It was simply too much for a country is an imperial past and a global ranking. The prospect of more power going to France and Germany, at the expense of balanced decisions scare many member countries. Great Britain chose to leave, sending a strong message that it had given up hope of influencing internal change in the EU,
Worst of all is that the EU has lost more of its allure as a globally ambitious integration project by opting for mean EU policies, instead of allowing a meritocratic chance for the best and the brightest. Within the EU Byzantine world of interest reconciliation, the Union has lost more of its allure as a global leader, offering the most competitive format for its members. If ÉU citizens decide to switch their role models to the US or Asia, it is just a matter of time before dissatisfaction translates in a legitimate transfer to the better global team, including more ‘exits’.
It is far better to treat Brexit, not as a case of treason and an aberration, but as a badly needed wake up call. 

Ilian Vassilev

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