The future of the EU without the UK and the consequences for EU
The UK’s secession from the EU is an essential and huge-dimensional blow at
both geopolitical and geo-strategic levels for the EU. The EU losing its ranks
in the UK is essentially losing a member-country with a highly developed
economy and a commercial capability that has one of the three most developed
global financial systems, which is a member state of the UN Security Council,
possessing high-level military and diplomatic capabilities.
by Thanos S. Chonthrogiannis
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The consequences for EU
The loss of the UK makes the EU to be in inferior position relative to the US and China in global competition and in areas related to the economy, defense, R&D and digital competition. One of the reasons why the British want to leave the EU, among all the other reasons, is why they do not want to contribute financially to the EU budget.
The EU budget is at 1% of the GDP of its member-countries, a very low and
disappointing percentage that does not allow the financing of common European
policies such as common European defense, digital transformation, etc.
At the same time, the US global isolationism that began to be implemented
with US President Donald Trump’s policy and the gradual collapse of the
international system, at the initiative of the US and which international
system to date and for centuries was characterized in a word as “West”, making it more difficult to communicate
and togetherness between states globally in order to address the major issues
of the planet.
The withdrawal of the US protection shields from the EU and the UK’s flight
from the EU, without currently the EU having a comprehensive strategy to
implement, makes the EU automatically weak in its influence at global level.
The EU’s inability to influence at international level is immediately
evident in the issue of Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria for the removal of
Kurds in this region. Turkey is indifferent to international law and any
reactions it manages to achieve what it wants and given that it has first been
given the green light from the US and Russia as it did with the invasion of
Turkey in northern Syria.
On the other hand, the EU for formal reasons alone, in the case of Turkey
invasion in northern Syria it cannot do more, is limited to verbal convictions
and announcements. The embargo on arms and weapons sales to Turkey announced by
the EU concerns future sales and orders of weapons systems and not existing
Since the EU does not want to send its troops to Syria, it is unable to
decisively influence any geopolitical developments in the Syrian region and the
Middle East in general.
The competition of the internal geopolitical spheres of influence in EU
The only EU member country presenting geopolitical ambitions in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and more generally in the Middle East is France. But France lacks the financial capacity to support these geopolitical
ambitions, unlike Germany which has the economic power.
It appears that France has annexed to its geopolitical sphere of influence the Εastern Mediterranean, while Germany has annexed to its own sphere of influence the Western Balkans.
The fact that Germany through the EU does not want to financially support France
for the geopolitical aspirations of France in the Εastern Mediterranean and the Middle East is the main and not obvious reason
why France in turn creates mounds in Germany as regards the integration of Northern Macedonia and
Albania (Western Balkans) into the internal of the EU. The Franco-German axis
on which the EU is based is malfunctioning because of this competition between
France and Germany.
Germany is pushing for the opening of accession negotiations with Northern
Macedonia and Albania (and according to our opinion is a good policy on behalf
of Germany because otherwise the Russian and Turkish influence will increase in
the Western Balkans) but the President of France Emmanuel Macron (as well the
Netherlands and Denmark) has fundamental objections because he believes that
the process of accession negotiations should be changed first, otherwise there
is a risk of repeating what is happening with Turkey, which is a candidate for
membership member-country in the EU for more than fifteen years.
However, all these reactions from France are based on the rejection by Germany of the French President’s plans for a common budget for the Eurozone and for a common EU defence policy.
In addition, Germany’s reaction to the non-financial support of France’s geopolitical ambitions in the Eastern Mediterranean is a cornerstone of France’s response to the non-implementation of Germany’s policy in the Western Balkans.
In fact, within the EU, its member-countries are divided into two main
spheres of influence. The sphere of influence of France, which includes Spain,
Portugal, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and the sphere of influence of Germany
comprising the countries of the Visegrad Group (the Czech Republic, Hungary,
Poland, Slovakia) and the member countries of Scandinavia, with between the two
spheres of influence it is located in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
The UK left the EU because it could not dominate these two main spheres of
influence operating within the EU. The UK would never accept becoming a vassal
in one of these two main spheres of influence.
Thanos S. Chonthrogiannis is an economist-researcher in the fields of economic research/business planning and strategic planning. His work experience moves in a wide professional field between managerial and advisory roles. He holds a degree in BSc (Econ) in Financial Economics, Birkbeck College, University of London and a postgraduate degree in MSc in Economics & Finance, University of Warwick (UK)