Reuniting Europe

Disbelief, anger and fear describe the feelings among the Europeans that saw leave win a majority vote in the Brexit referendum last Thursday. Disbelief that their U.K. neighbours have voted against a united Europe. Angry about the vote that resembles a vote against the other European citizens. Fear about what will happen next in the other EU nations – where fear mongering with anti-immigrant policies by nationalist parties is gaining even more support. These parties – very right-wing in particular – are also the ones calling for a total independence from Brussels and therefore leaving the EU. These nationalist parties gathered quite the momentum in recent years, they profited from the immigrant crisis and were extremely pleased with the outcome of the Brexit referendum. Leader of the Dutch right-wing party PVV, Geert Wilders, cheered the Brexit results and called for a Nexit referendum after the Brexit result. Dutch polls said there would be a Dutch majority in leaving the EU (48% leave - 45% stay). The National Front Leader in France Marine Le Pen, also called for a Frexit referendum after the Brexit vote. She stated on twitter: “It is now time to bring democracy to our country.”

The day after the Brexit vote came out foreign ministers of Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Germany came together and called for a swift exit of the UK from the EU. They stated: “the U.K. must implement Article 50 of the EU treaty that foresees the exit of an EU member state as soon as possible.” They aim on making the EU stronger for the future with emphasis on joint cooperation. This seems necessary to regain trust of the people that are currently not favouring their current governments. In a response to the bloc of foreign ministers, German Chancellor Merkel asked for a calm approach in accompanying the leave of the UK from the EU. The chancellor indicated that there is in no need for rushing the process that will deter the trading relationship that Germany has with the U.K. German stocks highlight the uncertainty, as the DAX index reached a low 9330 points on Monday.

Uniting the remaining governments in the EU seems vital to overcome the Brexit shock crippling through the EU and to prevent any other exits by EU-members. The need to prevent future exits may result in some EU nations negotiating a tough deal for the UK. They want to come up with a solution that will dampen the favourability of the nationalist parties. Whether it will come to a real referendum vote is uncertain. Generally, there first has to be a vote on whether such a referendum is warranted. These votes in EU nations are something to look out for in the near future. Whilst we wait patiently for the next steps in the Brexit process, Jean-Claude Juncker is calling for the UK to live with its decisions and trigger article 50 now.

Picture courtesy of European Parliament via flickr

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Reuters: Business News