The long journey of Brexit seems to have reached an important stage. On November 21, 2018, prime minister Theresa May met Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commision president to negotiate the deal. The statement released by the Commision says that they have made “very good process”. On November 25, the special meeting of the European Council endorsed the Brexit withdrawal agreement, which means that the UK is scheduled to exit the EU on March 29, 2019.
After the referendum in June 2016, the process of Brexit started with strong divergence. The result showed that 51.89% voted for leave and the result shifted greatly according to different regions. Scotland has more preference to stay in the EU, which has become one of the main reason that it seeks independence. There were voices asking for a revote because some people believed that misleading propaganda controlled the opinions of the public.
The statement says “very good process”, but it does not mean it has become a happy divorce. President Juncker described the endorsement as “a sad moment” and “a tragedy”. Brexit may start a trend of splitting in Europe, but actually, it has already started. In September, the progress that Swed Democrats made in the election have already lost ground to nationalism and other right-wing ideologies. This is the biggest progress that Swedish far-right power has made in history, controlling 17.53% of the seats in the parliament. In Germany, an assassination plan that includes murdering former president and Justice, organized by around 200 militants in the army, was discovered by the police. They also want to frame refugees for their attack. And in Poland, the regime has been controlled by a far-right party for three years. The resistance that European integration faced is stronger than any time since the establishment of the European Union.
The domino effect that Brexit would bring should not be ignored, especially as a right-wing ideology is rising. The European Union might adopt more concentrated policies to prevent more countries from leaving EU, but this will definitely lead to stronger responses from those who are against the EU and accelerates the rising of the right-wing power. The president of the European Council Donald Tusk said, “Obsessed with the idea of instant and total integration, we failed to notice that ordinary people, the citizens of Europe, do not share our Euro-enthusiasm.” This is the problem that the leaders in the EU should notice. However, on November 28, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz proposed that France should turn its permanent U.N. Security Council seat into EU one. France is the only EU country that has a permanent seat. However, an organization cannot hold a seat in the Council. This perfectly reflected the imbalance of power in EU. Embassy of France in Washing D.C. showed their protest towards this.
Regional economic integration is a trend that would bring benefits to the countries that have a relatively development-required economic situation, but one of the reasons they get improved is the support from the countries that have a better economy. When the problems of providing advantages for support are put on the table, the public will complain regardless of the real situation, which means that public opinions can be easily driven by biased propaganda. If that really happens, no matter how the government tries to fix it, a large proportion of people will not buy it, which definitely leads to the split of the society. Just think of what is happening in the U.S.A.
The Atlantic Ocean cannot block the effect of Brexit on Canada. Before that, Canadian companies trade with the UK under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, a trade agreement with the EU, removing Most of the tariffs for Canadian goods. The UK. alone is the third largest trading partner, so any changes on trade agreements will bring impact to some Canadian companies. In the case of Brexit, some deals need to be renegotiated. The instability in the financial field will also be a concern. According to the data in 2014, Canadians invested $69 billion in Britain directly which is 8.3% of the total investment. There are also many Canadians who have retirement funds connected with the UK. For example, there are around $20 billion of the assets of Canada Pension Plan in Britain. It is hard to say how intense the economic shock would be. The pound is also predicted to weaken and the U.S. dollar will be stronger.
The breakup between Britain and the EU seems inevitable, even though some officers resigned to show their dissatisfaction and the opposition parties declared to fight against this decision. For us, we can just wish the divorce could be less painful.
Nicholls, Henry. “The Legal Opinion Was Issued as UK Parliament Begins Five Days of Debate on May’s Brexit Deal.” Top EU Legal Official Says UK Can Unilaterally Cancel Brexit, Aljazeera, 2018 Dec. 4AD, www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/12/top-eu-legal-official-uk-unilaterally-cancel-brexit-181204102454994.html.
Tang, Justin. “U.K. PM Theresa May, Desperate for Post-Brexit Deals, Plays a Weak Hand.” U.K. PM Theresa May, Desperate for Post-Brexit Deals, Plays a Weak Hand, CBC, 19 Sept. 2017, www.cbc.ca/news/politics/theresa-may-weak-post-brexit-trade-deals-1.4294708.