(International Observation) Has the “original dream” of Britain’s “Brexit” three years ago come true?
China News Agency, Beijing, February 1st: Has the “original dream” of the UK’s “Brexit” three years ago come true?
Author Zhang Huandi Xiao Yudi
It has been three years since the UK formally left the EU on January 31, 2019. How has Brexit affected the UK in three years? Why did the proportion of people who support Britain’s “Brexit” drop? What is the relationship between the UK and the EU after Brexit? Kong Yuan, an associate researcher at the Institute of European Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and an expert on British issues, pointed out in an exclusive interview with China News Agency that although the UK has achieved some of its political demands for “Brexit”, its economic problems have not been solved by “Brexit”, which is extremely important. It has greatly affected the public opinion on the issue of “Brexit” in the UK, and the relationship between the UK and the EU has also been tested by the issue of “Brexit”.
“Brexit” seeks freedom, but it is hard to get what you want
Kong Yuan pointed out that the worry about being “marginalized” is an important reason why the UK chose to “Brexit”. With the deepening of EU integration, the UK’s influence on EU affairs decision-making is gradually declining. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the euro crisis and refugee flows that Europe has faced have also made the UK increasingly dissatisfied with some EU systems and decisions.
Kong Yuan believes that part of the political demands of Britain’s “Brexit” has indeed been realized. After the UK leaves the EU, it will no longer be restricted by EU laws and regulations, and thus regain more autonomy, and can help the country develop by amending or formulating regulations. In addition, the British Conservatives, represented by the former Prime Minister Johnson, gained popular support by promoting the “Brexit” agenda and stabilized the ruling power.
At the same time, the UK hopes to become a “UK in the world” that has influence on global affairs through “Brexit”, not just a “UK in Europe” that only has influence on European affairs. Kong Yuan believes that on this point, Britain has failed to get what it wanted.
“It can be seen from the diplomatic efforts made by the UK after leaving the EU that the UK has the will to demonstrate its global leadership, but in fact lacks the ability to implement and implement this will. The UK also has a high awareness of its own national strength. It depends on the positioning of many countries.” Kong Yuan analyzed.
“Brexit” makes the economy worse
Kong Yuan pointed out that although some people think that in the long run, the UK will gain economic benefits through “Brexit”, in fact, the UK has so far failed to achieve any economic demands of “Brexit”.
Kong Yuan said that similar to political appeals, the UK hopes to open up a broader market through “Brexit” and reach trade partnerships with more countries in the Asia-Pacific and other regions, but this move has not achieved good results. “Although the UK has signed free trade agreements with several countries such as Japan and Australia, the signing of free trade agreements with the United States and other countries is nowhere in sight, and more work is needed on key issues such as joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) A lot of time.”
Kong Yuan also pointed out that the British economy itself has structural problems, such as serious deindustrialization, high dependence on consumption and services, and insufficient labor force. On these issues, “Brexit” not only did not alleviate the problem, but made it worse.
London, the capital of the United Kingdom, is an important financial city in the world. After Brexit, a large number of financial institutions left London and moved to other regions. Britain lost a large number of talents and its competitiveness declined. The Ukrainian crisis since 2022 has also put greater pressure on the British economy. For a period of time, strikes from all walks of life in the UK have been a microcosm of economic recession.
When the United Kingdom held a referendum on “Brexit” in 2016, the proportion of people who supported “Brexit” was 52%. However, a recent poll released by the data statistics agency Statista shows that 54% of Britons surveyed think that leaving the EU is wrong, and only 34% think it is the right decision.
In this regard, Kong Yuan said that more and more British “Brexit” people began to waver and even regret their choices, and economic problems were an important reason for this phenomenon.
“Brexit” left behind thorny problems, UK-EU relations are facing a test
Some German media believe that after the UK’s “Brexit”, the EU lost its second largest economy and the second largest net contributor to the EU budget, which has an irreversible negative impact on the EU’s own development. Although the EU has repeatedly persuaded the UK to abandon the “Brexit”, it has not prevented the UK’s “Brexit” from becoming a reality. The many controversies and problems left over from the “Brexit” issue are also testing the relationship between the UK and the EU.
“Northern Ireland-related issues are a thorny problem left over. Although the UK and the EU have reached a certain consensus on related issues and signed the ‘Northern Ireland Protocol’, there are problems with some of the regulations, and the UK and the EU have still not been able to reach an agreement on amending the regulations. Unanimous.” Kong Yuan said, “On the other hand, the UK and the EU have only reached a ‘Brexit’ agreement on trade, but have not established a new mature mechanism on defense and security cooperation, and related issues have not yet been resolved.”
Kong Yuan believes that the complicated “Brexit” issue has caused a rift in the relationship between the British government and the European Union, especially during the period when Truss was the British Prime Minister. However, after Sunak took over as British Prime Minister in October 2022, he made many efforts to try to repair the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union. “Sunak realized that only by properly handling the relationship with the EU can it be possible to solve the UK’s economic problems.” Kong Yuan said. (Finish)
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