UK’s Divorce from the EU can be “Painful”

Europe is now facing a new reality, which will bring several changes with it. As any political process, Great Britain’s out from the EU as well has its opportunities and challenges for both sides.

Irrespective of the fact that the basis for Brexit initiative and the results of the referendum were mainly economic problems, this decision will also have a political significance.  First of all it will have an influence on the internal politics of the United Kingdom. The majority in Scotland and Northern Ireland has voted against Brexit and the question of their possible independence from the UK is once again on the agenda. During the campaign of the referendum on Scotland’s independence the main thesis of those, who were for remaining in the UK was that in case of independence there was a threat that they would be out of the EU. Today, in fact, Scotland irrespective of its will, is coming out of the EU.

In the context of the EU-UK relations, Brexit deprived London from its levers on the decision-making process of the EU, which in some cases can result in some undesirable decisions for the UK. It is also not excluded that the UK will grow economically being out of the EU and its voice will be even more heard for the EU. However, this is the best option.

As for the EU, then, first of all, Brexit can lead to possible disintegration tendencies and new wave of secessions, becoming an impetus for other countries dissatisfied with the EU politics. Besides, Great Britain even not being in Euro zone, is a great economy, which has its great role for the Union and UK’s divorce from the EU can cause economic shocks. Brexit can significantly weaken the EU’s positions, a Union that has ambitions of becoming a great power in political issues. In addition, Brexit is also a blow to the EU’s reputation. Today, many talk about the EU as a disintegrating Union. This can have severe consequences in the context of the migrant crisis and the EU internal problems.

At the same time, if the EU by consolidating its potential will ensure EU-Britain close cooperation through negotiations, Brexit in some sense may even make EU’s life “easier.” This particularly refers to the existing disagreements between the EU and the UK on some key issues.

If the sides are able to overcome internal crisis and at the same time build healthy cooperation, this “divorce” can even create new opportunities for them. At the first stage, naturally, shocks and uncertainties will be quite many and will take some time to stabilize everything.

Anna Karapetyan

Board member, “European Integration” NGO