Words by Husam Elgenied
For years, in the UK there has been an uncertain relationship with the EU; London especially have tried to stay clear from several central polices, for example the common Euro currency and the border-free Schengen area. It is widely accepted that this financial decision kept Britain afloat during the 2008 recession, with the City’s financial and legal services offering much in the way of GDP contributions – an advantage that other larger European countries were not as fortunate in boasting. In light of this, Brexit voters and supporters adopt a sceptical stance in relationship to EU membership. According to Euro ‘sceptics’, membership threatens the UK’s independence and halts growth. On the other side of the debate, many also stand by the opinion that EU membership strengthens trade, investment and the UK’s standing in world political matters.
Contrastingly, Brexiteers strongly believe that with this so called renewed independence would allow the UK to better manage immigration, free itself from tedious conventions and spark more dynamic growth. The result of the referendum of June 2016 resulted in the Prime Minister, David Cameron, handing in his resignation. His successor, Theresa May, it is widely agreed, has been left with the challenging task of negotiating the terms of the Brexit deal, maintaining a new and steady relationship with European counterparts. Within her time as PM, May has activated Article 50; this refers to the formal exit process required to legally leave the EU single market. Following this, the PM also decided to hold an instant election which resulting in her Conservation party losing seats in the House of Commons. This result was somewhat unexpected and such marked the beginning of a narrative of doubt attaching itself to the PM: supports and sceptic alike have expressed their doubt surrounding the PM’s capabilities to lead such crucial negotiations and calling into question her competence as leader of the nation. conservative party losing seats, this has managed to cause doubt within the EU that she is suitable to lead these crucial negotiations.
A key question to explore is who Brexit affects the most? Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have always worked closely with the UK and have been reliant on their leadership on everything from the EU and trade matters to culture and sport. Out of these countries, surveys suggest that Sweden and Denmark will be the most negatively affected by Brexit. Because of this these countries are now likely to reaffirm their place within the EU. It is believed that the Prime minister of Denmark will put down a supportive marker towards the EU immediately, mainly in an attempt to lessen the threat from populists. These populist parties are now causing a stir within the political mainframe of running candidates. They are using the Brexit vote to gain more of a social power. Recent surveys tell us that there is a strong majority in favour of the EU in Sweden and followed closely by Denmark leading political figures in both countries waiting for the public to scrutinise the outcome of the UK’s referendum outcome.
If current trading standards are anything to go by, many analysts expect France and Germany to be the most affected because of how influential they are in the European market. This is even after a somewhat volatile 12 months threatened by the populist parties. “Core Europe” finally feels as if its finding its path again.