Brexit vote and what it means for EU and UK

This week's editorial looks at the Brexit vote and its implications.

British voters head to the polls tomorrow to decide whether their country will remain in the European Union or withdraw their membership from the increasingly problematic political alliance, described by some observers as a “sinking Titanic.”

What the consequences of a decision either way could turn out to be have been widely commented on already, with most of the speculations focusing on fear mongering by both sides in the campaign, with a steady emphasis put on negativity that would result if the other side won the vote. Neither the remain campaign, nor the Brexit side brought much to the table in terms of what would improve if their side won.

This is because there is not a lot of improvement that one could look forward in either case; the Brexit vote is ultimately a decision whether to pull the trigger on the impending global financial, and consequently political, crisis that will mushroom from Europe or to just try to maintain the status quo and postpone it until the next boiling point arrives.

Let’s look at why that is.

EU is already crumbling and it is likely to collapse within a decade or so if not earlier. This might look as a very pretentious claim but if one even slightly scratches the surface, what appears to the naked eye is a desperately hopeless situation:

*Ever since the financial crisis in 2008, centrifugal forces have been gaining strength because of the increasingly divisive economic disparities between the Protestant north and Catholic south. Northern Europe, from Germany up, with their high economic productivity and distinctive work ethic, have been pulling ahead in terms of rise in productivity and economic growth while nations of the Catholic south (Spain, Italy, Portugal and, even though they are not Catholic, Greece) have been sticking with their siesta culture regardless of the economic hardships they have to overcome. And hardworking people of the north are tired of subsidizing the more relaxed societies of the south.

*The euro, as a currency unit, is mainly a German project, even though it had the full backing of France at its design and launch phase. Germany is the biggest exporter in Europe and among the top three in the world with China and Japan. Germany exports almost half of its GDP. The euro was designed with two objectives in mind: First to allow Germany to continue to sell to the other European countries with ease, by doing away with foreign exchange controls and bureaucracy, in other words, turn Europe into a single-currency market for mainly German-made goods. The second goal was to challenge the dominance of the US dollar as the international reserve currency by creating a rival, European-backed global trade platform, which, again, would ultimately serve German exporters’ interests. There is now a clear realization that for a monetary union to work properly, there has to be a corresponding fiscal union, which amounts to member countries surrendering their tax levying power to a central authority, which is clearly out of the question.

*The economic hardships just exacerbate the political differences. The increasingly nationalistic/right wing trends in European countries stemming from the economic problems have been deepening over the migrant crisis since last summer. With Germany still boasting the capacity to absorb an immigrant workforce to make up for its rapidly aging population and dwindling reproduction rates, Chancellor Angela Merkel has declared her intention to accept some 800 thousand immigrants from Middle East and North Africa annually, and not to antagonize her own powerbase in her own country, has forced other EU nations to do the same, although not pushing them on the numbers. This has created a lot of hostility within the EU with every member country trying to erect border fences and stop immigrants from making their way through their borders.

These are just a few of the fundamental issues pulling the EU apart. In several key countries, like Austria, France, Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium, far right politicians are gaining a lot of ground and they all think EU may have been just a bad idea.

So, if tomorrow’s vote goes to support those who would like to keep Britain in the EU, it will not have triggered the process of disintegration of the EU, it will just delay it.

But a remain vote will definitely prevent the launch of another potential development, which is the disintegration of the United Kingdom. But then again, it is open to question whether it will be a stop or postponement.

 

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