EU – UK exit will allow for even greater arguments

What will colour EU countries attitude to the UK over Brexit will be that one stumbling block is removed to the notion of a two-speed Europe which is now being talked up. So the UK will get the blame for opening the door by those countries opposed.

A two-speed Europe would allow closer integration for a core of countries to forge cooperation on finance, tax and security, leaving a peripheral group to stay in a looser federation, which latter group would not have the power of veto.  Italy is pushing the idea hard at the moment and France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are likely to support it. Poland is vehemently against it, fearing that the inner group would start to take unilateral decisions with a continent-wide effect. The head Poland’s ruling party, Jaroslaw Kaczyński, last week warned that any move toward a two-speed European Union would lead to the bloc falling apart. It would lead he said to “the breakdown, and – liquidation, of the European Union in its current sense”. Others in the Visegrad group – Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia are also alarmed. Which given that they have only recently removed themselves from the USSR straitjacket and re-asserted their national identity is hardly surprising.

The latitude for the UK exploiting such rifts amid the general mayhem of the EU attempting to mount a cohesive divorce negotiation will be considerable.

The relationships of all the Visegrad countries with the EU (for Poland see previous post) are hugely unsettled, Hungary especially, and getting more so into the early 2020s, . They’ll all feel forced into changes beyond their control.

Malta looks disappointed and irritated by the UK’s decision to exit so won’t be too supportive; Cyprus even more so, though that was always a fractious relationship at best.  The EU will be fighting battles on several fronts so Brexit, at times, won’t be the major concern.  Though the substantial loss of revenue will loom large, nonetheless.


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