Sunday 28 May 2023 | 02:35

Andrei Yahorau: The referendum in the UK left European elite with no illusions

01.07.2016  |  Politics   |  Aliaksei Jurych,  EuroBelarus
Andrei Yahorau: The referendum in the UK left European elite with no illusions

Eurosceptics will have enough energy to initiate referendums on leaving the European Union; but they won’t win them.

Will Britain carry out Brexit results? Can the British referendum on leaving the EU cause a chain reaction? Will Brexit result in reviewing internal and external EU policy?

The questions of the “EuroBelarus“ Information Service covered Andrei Yahorau, the Head of Board of International Consortium "EuroBelarus".

- By organizing Brexit, the UK made the first step. Will it have enough spirit and political will to carry it out, especially after the three million signatures collected for a new referendum?

- Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty regulates the process of leaving the European Union: The British Parliament must officially apply to the EU for the beginning of the EU exit procedure. Now Britain has gotten into a very difficult inner political situation, since after the referendum, all the negative consequences of leaving the EU, which Brexit opponents warned about, got justified, - starting from the serious economic losses up to the political threat of the UK collapse. The political crisis in the UK will only be developing.

When Britain's leadership will apply to the EU for the beginning of the EU exit procedure and whether it will apply or not depends on how the political crisis will be resolved within the UK. Much depends on the behavior of the political elites. I haven’t seen the data of opinion polls, but the movement of the referendum opponents is developing, which symbolizes the frustration from Brexit. As the British media write, if the real consequences of the referendum were known, many British would have voted differently; many people feel as if they were deceived and are now recede from their earlier statements.

The UK faces the political confusion at the level of political elite and civil society, and it’s not clear yet what the end will be.

- I.e. the UK’s exit from the EU is not a fact, is it?

- No, of course not! Even if Britain today would officially apply to withdraw from the EU, negotiations would start and they would have last for a long time. In any case, the UK will remain in the EU for quite some time.

Can the British referendum on leaving the EU cause a chain reaction?

- There is such a threat. Euroscepticism is quite common in many countries: in France there are now about 60% of Eurosceptics, even in Germany, according to some opinion polls, there are about 48% of them. It creates a favorable environment for populist parties that can initiate referendums on leaving the EU. In this situation, they have enough power to try to achieve such referendums; but they will hardly win them. Especially with the picture of the negative consequences of such referendum for the UK: threats that Brexit opponents have predicting have become a reality.

I hope that pro-European elite and European optimists will be more active and more decisive in holding campaign for the membership in the European Union. Referendums can be initiated, but can hardly be won.

- How has Brexit changed the geopolitical picture of Europe?

- Nothing has changed. The United Kingdom caused a very great damage to itself as a geopolitical actor, falling from the club of states, who solve global problems, to the category of local actors, who have little influence world events.

The referendum will, of course, lead to active debate on the principles of further work within the EU; perhaps the EU policy will become more clear and resolute. At least, the EU demonstrates clear stance on the UK referendum. I think that the referendum in the UK left European elite with no illusions and, I hope, will lead to greater consolidation of the European Union. This means that the EU will be quicker in responding to the emerging problems.

Brexit will rather have a positive impact on the trends within the EU than the negative one.

- Many experts perceive the UK referendum as a weakening of the European Union. What impact will it have on the EU-Russia confrontation?

- Where does the boundary of this confrontation lie?.. What the European Union cannot do now from the list of things it did before?

All geopolitical actors, including the European Union and China, advised the UK against Brexit.

- How will the consequences of the referendum affect the EU projects, for example, the Eastern Partnership?

- Brexit will have no direct impact. Britain's output won’t have much impact on the EU budget, all the more that it will spend the next few years in the EU.

I hope that the natural reaction to Brexit will be the consolidation of the European Union, which will help to elaborate clear foreign policy towards the east: both for the liberalization of visa policy towards Georgia and Ukraine and for the Dutch referendum on the EU association with Ukraine. It is these actions that undermine the credibility and trust towards the European Union as a geopolitical actor. I think we will see more concretion and decisiveness in EU actions in our region.

It will rather be useful for us.

Other news section «Politics»

Andrei Yahorau — Al Jazeera: “Lukashenko is irresponsible”
Andrei Yahorau — Al Jazeera: “Lukashenko is irresponsible”
He said Belarus would likely face economic tightening not only as a result of the coronavirus pandemic but also a Russian trade oil crisis that worsened this past winter.
Shhh! Belarus Wants You to Think It’s Turning Over a New Leaf
Shhh! Belarus Wants You to Think It’s Turning Over a New Leaf
Minsk’s muddled media clampdown could jeopardize warming of relations with the West.
Statement of the BNP in connection with the wave of searches in the editorial offices of the Belarus
Statement of the BNP in connection with the wave of searches in the editorial offices of the Belarus
The Belarusan National Platform of the EaP CSF issued a statement in connection with the wave of searches in the editorial offices of the Belarusan media and the detention of journalists.
Statement of the Belarusan EaP CSF National Platform on solidarity with the civil society of Armenia
Statement of the Belarusan EaP CSF National Platform on solidarity with the civil society of Armenia
The Belarusan National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum issued a statement on solidarity with the civil society of Armenia.
"Vilnius Consultations": Key points and recommendations on the future of EU Eastern Partnership
"Vilnius Consultations": Key points and recommendations on the future of EU Eastern Partnership
On September 11, the inaugural „Vilnius Consultations“ conference was organized by Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis and Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
From farewell to a new Eastern policy and towards a new development
From farewell to a new Eastern policy and towards a new development
Poland and Germany were both initiators and drivers of a New Eastern policy linked to the Eastern neighborhood and Russia/Soviet Union.
Uladzimir Matskevich: The sooner the "Union State" is denounced, the better for Belarus
Uladzimir Matskevich: The sooner the "Union State" is denounced, the better for Belarus
Not only does the "Union State" undermine the establishment of civilized relations with Europe, but it hinders the possibility of normal relations between Belarus and Russia.
Uladzimir Matskevich: The regime can no longer control the situation in the country
Uladzimir Matskevich: The regime can no longer control the situation in the country
The authorities are unable to prolong the social contract with the people: there is no way out of the social crisis.
Press release in connection with the dialogue in the format of the EU-Belarus Coordination Group
Press release in connection with the dialogue in the format of the EU-Belarus Coordination Group
Belarusan National Platform of the EaP CSF welcomes the dialogue process in the format of the EU-Belarus Coordination Group, the third round of which was held in Minsk on 3-4 April 2017.
Statement of the BNP in connection with the events of March 25-26, 2017 in Minsk and other Belarusan
Statement of the BNP in connection with the events of March 25-26, 2017 in Minsk and other Belarusan
Belarusan National Platform of the EaP CSF issued a statement in connection with the events of March 25-26, 2017 in Minsk and other Belarusan cities.
Statement by the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum on mass repressions in Belarus
Statement by the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum on mass repressions in Belarus
The EaP CSF Steering Committee issued a statement on repressions against civil society activists and journalists in Belarus, in view of the demonstrations planned on 25 March 2017.
Uladzimir Matskevich: Belarus-Ukraine relations need to be re-established
Uladzimir Matskevich: Belarus-Ukraine relations need to be re-established
"Case of Zhadan" demonstrated that Belarus does not actually have a clear policy - neither domestic nor foreign.
Belarus
Belarus's Lukashenko alleges “fifth column” plot as unrest continues
Belarusan President Lukashenko said on Tuesday a “fifth column” was plotting to overthrow him with the help of foreign-backed fighters, days before a planned street protest in Minsk against a new tax.
In Belarus, a rising fear: Will we be the next Ukraine?
In Belarus, a rising fear: Will we be the next Ukraine?
The relationship between Russia and Belarus has never been an easy one.
Andrei Yahorau: European window of opportunity is slowly closing, relations take form of fatigue
Andrei Yahorau: European window of opportunity is slowly closing, relations take form of fatigue
The Belarusian regime is not able to pursue a truly multi-vector policy, and the EU cannot decide what it needs in the region on the whole and from Belarus in particular.
Uladzimir Matskevich: Today Belarus is in a very difficult situation
Uladzimir Matskevich: Today Belarus is in a very difficult situation
But even under the circumstances the authorities have various ways out.
Uladzimir Matskevich: Lukashenka does not disrupt Russian plans to annex Belarus
Uladzimir Matskevich: Lukashenka does not disrupt Russian plans to annex Belarus
But Lukashenka is afraid for his fate and position - he needs Belarus to be sovereign to fully exercise his power.
Andrei Yeliseyeu: Russia is taking drastic unconstructive steps  
Andrei Yeliseyeu: Russia is taking drastic unconstructive steps  
There should be no actual passport control for the Belarusians arriving in Russia within the framework of the existing Belarusian-Russian agreements.
Uladzimir Matskevich: Visa-free regime is not a political concession to the West
Uladzimir Matskevich: Visa-free regime is not a political concession to the West
It is a process of normalization of Belarus-EU relations. Belarus just fulfils its international commitments.
Andrei Yahorau: Belarusian regime is self-improving, the only threat so far is the economy crisis
Andrei Yahorau: Belarusian regime is self-improving, the only threat so far is the economy crisis
Political analyst emphasizes that Belarus is the first modern authoritarianism in the European space, a phenomenon not yet studied by anyone.
Gintautas Mažeikis: The relation of political field and arena in the framework of information war

In his report, philosopher Gintautas Mažeikis discusses several concepts that have been a part of the European social and philosophical thought for quite a time.

“It is our big joint work”

It is impossible to change life in cities just in three years (the timeline of the “Agenda 50” campaign implementation). But changing the structure of relationships in local communities is possible.

Shhh! Belarus Wants You to Think It’s Turning Over a New Leaf

Minsk’s muddled media clampdown could jeopardize warming of relations with the West.

Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool

To achieve changes, you need to be interested in them and stop pinning all hopes on the state.