Initially scheduled for March 2019, Brexit has been postponed several times. It has eventually gone in a straight line after the new Parliament in London, formed after the victory of Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in the early elections, approved the Withdrawal Agreement Bill which set January 31, 2020 as the deadline for Brexit. It was for the first time since the 2016 referendum that things became really clear. Still shadowy however is the dynamics of post-Brexit relations. Many wonder what the relations between the UK and the EU will be like, two entities that are linked by culture, history, economic and security issues. Great Britain is actually the main military contributor within the EU.
Here is Andrei Ţărnea, an expert in foreign policy analysis: “Brexit will not change the nature of interests linking the UK to the rest of the continent, it will not change the nature of the challenges that are common to both the UK and the EU, but it will change the way, also from a legal point of view, in which cooperation can continue. Also there is the issue of the EU citizens who are working or living in the UK and vice-versa, of the British citizens who are studying, working or are residents in some of the EU member states. Romania is one of the states that have many citizens in Great Britain, both students and employees on the labor market.”
Brexit changes the balance of forces within the EU. It is undoubtedly a change in the center of gravity, says analyst Andrei Ţărnea. In the last 2-3 years, the UK, although an EU member, has not had the same leverage. There is a return to a previous formula: the France-Germany tandem, which is different today from what it was in the first 20 years of EU existence, is again gaining ground in a fundamentally changed geopolitical context, in a different economic and regional context, according to Andrei Ţărnea.
Andrei Ţărnea. “We are retuning to a historical formula, Great Britain not being a founding member of the EU. It joined the bloc after De Gaulle was no longer president of France, as he was one of the big powers’ politicians who were opposed to the UK’s becoming a member of the EU, previously known as the European Economic Community. What is really important is that Great Britain has always been a supporter of EU enlargement, an enlarged EU that should act as an instrument of political coordination, of harmonizing democratic principles and standards and economic standards, of coherent functioning of Europe.”
Will the dynamics of international relations change once the UK takes a different path from the EU? The president of the Center for Conflict Prevention and Early Warning, Iulian Chifu, insists that, first and foremost, there will be a change in the EU dynamics:
Iulian Chifu: “The exit from the European Union of one of the permanent members of the Security Council that holds nuclear weapons leaves the bloc with actually one state that holds nuclear weapons, namely France, which is also a permanent member of the Security Council. Of course, this creates a singularity, all the more so as, in the power equation at European level, France wants to assume the responsibility of European defense, and it has repeatedly made its intention clear. It is true that it is very difficult to support a Europe whose defense is led by France, and which misses such countries as the US, Canada, Norway, Turkey, now the UK, to refer strictly to the power ratio between NATO and the EU, and which brings in neutral states such Austria, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Ireland. This situation has been assessed also from a financial point of view. At European level, though, Brexit is much more important because Great Britain also had a geopolitical role of equilibrium in Europe, you know the saying, the perfidious Albion that does not have permanent allies but only self-interests. Well, in this context, the exit of Great Britain, which was Germany’s ally in terms of economic policies and France’s ally in terms of defense and security issues, changes the balance of powers and also the balance of the double majority vote. Therefore, in the future, France and Germany will be able to impose together agendas that can only be counterbalanced by the other 13 most powerful states in terms of strategic importance, voting leverage, etc. which means practically never.”
So, we are talking about more important roles than the UK’s apparent roles within the EU, said university professor Iulian Chifu. (translation by L. Simion)