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Brexit: The Triumph of Emotion Over Logic


Britain’s Leave Campaign was successful in amassing 51.7% of the votes and, along with Cameron’s emotional announcement for resignation, Britain must begin taking measures to leave the European Union. However,  Britain’s decision may be base for a widespread fear of fragmentation across other European countries, namely those already speculating leaving the EU themselves. The implications of Brexit’s success may be that the glory days of the European Union were something of the past.

As it currently stands, Brexit in and of itself does not pose any serious danger to the EU’s economy given that a small 7% of the EU’s imports are from Britain. But the reason why Britain’s decision to leave the EU can represent the spark that initiates a wildfire in the EU is because of various unresolved issues. To name a few, the imposition of austerity measures on neighbouring countries within EU states and the lack of an efficient framework for states within the EU to alleviate the refugee crises can only be worsened by Britain’s departure from the roundtable.

Brexit is begging the question: what are the implications of Britain’s departure from the European Union for the nation itself and the EU itself? This question is answered with a Google statistic of large populations in the UK searching for a new definition of the European Union sans Britain, hours after having casted a ballot that reflects misinformation on the topic. Regardless of the result, the current route Britain should take while leaving the EU with minimal damage is found in constitutionally abiding to article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Article 50 is arguably of utmost importance because the referendum is not legally binding. In order for Brexit to materialize itself and become a reality, article 50 must be brought up before members of the European Parliament, a first in the history of the EU. Article 50 states:

“Any member state may decide to withdraw from the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.”

In expanding this, Britain must negotiate a deal on how to go about withdrawal while finding the legal grounds to sustain some relationship with the European Union. As for the EU, the decision must be concluded by the Council, which must be a qualified majority of member states. Moreover, obtaining the official consent from the European Parliament is imperative. However, matters become challenging for Britain as the timely success of Brexit, in accord with article 50, would imply that a jammed parliament would be deciding which parts of the 80 000 pages of EU agreements are kept in UK law and which ones are not – all within a pressuring period of two years. Should Britain fail in reaching this deadline, Britain’s severance would fall out of the EU as a contested issue without any provisions in place. Only a unanimous agreement on behalf of EU member states to allow for more time could save Britain from this terrible fate.

A major question in British Politics is who exactly will become the aforementioned martyr of securing Brexit. On the 24th of June, David Cameron stated that there must be a new Prime Minister of Britain before commencing negotiations given that the formal and legal use of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is in said prime minister’s hands. On the other hand, regardless of the fact that Cameron is still holding office, Nigel Farage has called for immediate action which can be detrimental since European leaders need time for the issue to be resolved responsibly to avoid a spread of EU exit mentality. Britain’s urgency to leave the EU opens a door for member states to follow suit, captivated by anti-EU rhetoric. A plethora of problems such as the already established buffer zones may also fade away as a product of the EU’s dissolution, thus sparking inefficiency in addressing the refugee crisis and escalating conflictual interests between European states. Perhaps, the best mechanism for Britain to rely on in this context is Article 50 and the responsible execution of said clauses for a Brexit that will not make Britain the chink that led to the dissolution of the EU.

-Victor Percoco

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About Victor Percoco

Victor Percoco is a student at McGill University who is majoring in Political Science and minoring in History. His topics of interest are Latin American politics and International Law.

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