What Brexit means for the UK is the big question on everyone’s mind, but does Britain’s exit from the European Union actually have bigger consequences in store?
The UK putting plans in motion to leave may ultimately lead to other countries questioning their relationship and where they stand with the EU.
With Britain pressing to trigger Article 50, it is certainly opening up debate as to whether it really is the beginning of the end for the EU.
Rise of the Right-Wing
In many member states across Europe, austerity policies have been rolled out, similar to that of the UK policies, which has resulted in recessions and job loses across the continent. For many, the reaction appears to be to reject the system in place and support right-wing parties.
Arguably, it is the rise of right-wing populism that will cause issues with the EU. These parties tend to focus on issues affecting their country, rather than that of Europe, with issues such as immigration becoming a major talking point. It is this that could lead to the demise of the EU.
Right-wing parties have been on the increase across Europe and 2017 looks no different, with the National Front in France, for example, contesting a place in government. Whether this will see mainstream parties swing to the right to appeal to voters, is yet unknown.
Euroskeptics criticize the EU for not being democratic enough, claiming that it is hard to maintain control when it is run by unelected bureaucrats. While reality is that each government chooses someone to represent them in the European Commission on their behalf, it does not quiet the disapproval.
When addressing the current discontent following Brexit, President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker failed to acknowledge the growing problem. His dismissal, instead calling for more unity, could be the downfall when other countries follow suit and take steps to leave the union.
If left unresolved, governments across Europe may decide to leave to escape the EU seemingly diminishing their authority and having to follow a set of laws and rules they no longer feel invested in.
Time for Change?
In truth the EU has to change in order to diminish more attempts from unhappy member states to break away.
The EU is very desirable in terms of benefits such as the free market but if there is a surge in right-wing parties winning elections across Europe, will they be accepting of free movement too?
A plan must be put in place to put and end to the concern instead of ignoring the problems or the EU may have bigger issues than Brexit in the next few years.