Five years after the referendum and the negative effects have become a daily experience.
This article is reproduced with kind permission by Huffington Post, Greece.
The 23 June marked five years since the day of the Brexit referendum. The referendum was held on 23 June 2016 and the victory of the withdrawal proposal with a meagre 51.9% changed the political landscape of the country and Europe, creating a cyclone of ominous developments.
The result led the country into political turmoil, governmental collapses, changes of Prime Ministers, early elections and unprecedented division of society. For 3.5 years it was essentially the main political issue and monopolized interest until the UK left the EU on 31/01/2020.
The negative effects of that day have become a daily experience (directly or indirectly) for all citizens of the country in all sectors.
After 1.5 years after the official withdrawal and five years since the day the UK changed, even the most ardent supporters of the withdrawal cannot show a positive impact on the economy, health, education, security etc.
On the contrary, in the midst of the devastating pandemic on all the aforementioned levels that has plagued humanity for 16 months, the country's departure from the bosom of the EU has created intractable problems that will only get worse over time.
Especially at a time when all 27 EU member states are cooperating with each other and trying to find joint solutions with other major world powers to tackle the unprecedented crisis, the country's self-inflicted marginalization deprives it of the leadership position it has held over time.
Coincidentally, because of the pandemic, the problem was temporarily covered up as meetings for bilateral negotiations and international meetings in general were limited. However, the weakening of the country in the international arena became clear and was also highlighted by the domestic media during the recent G7 meeting in Cornwall, UK.
Need for vision
The lack of cooperation between the UK and the EU and the constant friction over long-running negotiations have already damaged and weakened both sides.
Unfortunately, the result presumes that the European powers are unable to understand that the sphere of influence has long since shifted away from the Old Continent and that the only way to maintain even part of their power is through unification.
Although some European countries, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and the United Kingdom are very strong economically, they alone are lagging behind the United States, China, Japan and India.
Moreover, they alone are geopolitically lagging behind Russia and possibly emerging powers such as South Africa or Brazil. It should therefore be emphasised and made conscious to all European citizens (whether they are citizens of EU member states or not) that the EU remains the second largest economic power in the world after the USA and that participation in it acts as a force multiplier.
Moreover, despite the weaknesses and problems that exist and need to be corrected, the EU and by extension Europe remains the region with the highest standard of living in the world and this must be appreciated and protected by all of us.
In conclusion, at a time when the geopolitical and economic focus is shifting from the West to the East, the union of European countries is necessary. To safeguard their acquis and to counter the suffocating pressures from other countries, vision, wisdom, maturity and cooperation are needed first from political leaders and then from the people.
Therefore, in the common interest of the EU and the UK, recent differences must be put aside so that, with respect for the specificities and sensitivities of both sides, there can be close and smooth cooperation between them.
About the author
Michael Arapis - LLB, LLM, MA, is President of Ε.Κ.Ο. of Scientists of the United Kingdom, Trustee on the Board of charity New Europeans UK and President of New Europeans Wales