EURUS Director Achim Hurrelmann britain-eu-vote-brexithas published an op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen discussing the potential fallout of the Brexit for the EU and pointing out the structural problems it has highlighted which the EU will need to solve in order to avoid further deterioration. You can find the article here.

1 thought on “EURUS Director Achim Hurrelmann Publishes Op-Ed on Brexit Fallout for EU”

  1. Yevgeni Baron says:

    Dear Dr. Hurrelmann, and EURUS colleagues,

    My attention was drawn to the media overkill surrounding the UK to leave Europe. Some media networks notably RT (Russia Today) exaggerated the impact of Brexit on European unity.

    Turning to print media, I enjoyed Dr. Hurrelmann’s thoughtful op-ed re Brexit. My focus is Eastern Europe – thus, naturally, while thinking re the processes of integration and exit, I recalled “Lenin’s Tango: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back.” In other words, the path to European integration is not a linear or ‘simple’.

    Dr. Hurrelmann clearly identified two factors in the British vote to leave: fear of unrestricted labour mobility and resentment toward distant (unelected) technocrats.

    Segments of British society: media, political parties and the public – were ambivalent and fearful of an uncontrolled influx of foreign workers, the majority of them Poles. The specter of more foreigners from e.g. Turkey, and possibly followed by Ukrainians was simply more than some Britons could accept.

    It appears that there was a political “perfect storm”. Unrestricted immigration was accompanied by bureaucratic ‘dictatorship’: inefficient, arrogant, and indifferent. Some Britons felt they were losing control. The ‘leave’ side demanded the return of sovereignty but really had no positive plan. This is increasingly apparent. However, the ‘stay’ side also failed to explain the benefits of membership, they simply played the ‘fear card’. In summary, it was less about money than culture and identity.

    Historically Britain has been sceptical about Europe. Britain participated for a time in the Congress system. It was an under-appreciated association that kept peace in Europe for nearly 40 years. The French Revolution, however, unleashed the rise of nationalism. The nationalist unification of Italy and Germany essentially ended this early version of European co-operation.

    The idea of European unity, however, resurfaced after the insanity of World War II. For instance, De Gaulle envisioned a Unified Europe (with France at its head) as a response to US domination, and to the ‘stagnant’ and futile Cold War.

    Of course, Brexit is not the end of Europe. There will be some restructuring. This may not be a bad thing. There needs to be a balancing of interests. Also, a greater recognition that the nation state exists for a reason. Europe should be a family of nations. However, the ‘family’ can work together for the common good while being respectful of individual differences.

    Yevgeni Baron

    MA EURUS 2016/17

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