Brexit will cause a series of difficulties for the EU, political commentator Mark Wallace has claimed. He warns Britain’s withdrawal marks the start of a series of problems for the bloc as he outlines four key problems facing the EU. This includes infighting over the EU budget, legislative issues, political instability and reluctance to reform.
The executive editor of Conservative Home said far from solving the EU’s problems, Brexit will exacerbate existing ones.
Firstly, the UK was a vocal critic of the EU throughout its membership, voicing concerns shared by other members states.
But now Britain has left the bloc, other countries will have to speak up for themselves.
Writing in the i newspaper, Mr Wallace said: “No longer – without difficult Britons to rely on, they now face the uncomfortable choice of fighting those battles harder for themselves or answering to their voters for unpopular measures that may now be passed.
“Pro-market countries such as the Netherlands, for example, or states such as Denmark which value their opt-out from the euro must now take a firmer stance to champion their positions.”
The second issue facing Brussels, that has caused bitter infighting in recent weeks, is the EU’s budget.
In 2018 the UK was the third largest contributor to the EU budget, handing over £13.2billion, just under 12 percent of the total contributions from all member states.
But the EU will stop receiving payments from the UK Government from 2021, leaving a large hole in the budget with other members states unwilling to foot the bill.
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Moreover, Mr Wallace highlights the fact the European Commission do not want to reduce overall spending.
He said: “The Commission still wants to spend big, as a sign that there are no doubts and no back-pedalling on the project, but they must take €70billion (£59billion) more from the remaining members.”
This has proved a sticking point in last week’s EU summit, where the EU27 convened to discuss proposals for the EU’s long term budget – due to commence next year.
Leo Varadkar, who remains as Ireland’s care taker prime minister after he announced his resignation, even hit out at the latest suggestions, as he complained Ireland would be contributing more than the country will get back.
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Mr Wallace also highlights Europe is facing the issue of political instability and points to the problems currently facing Ireland and Germany.
Earlier this month Irish voters ended Mr Varadkar’s majority in the Dáil, sparking the end of the country’s longstanding Fine Fael-Fianna Fáil coalition government.
As a result of the electoral upset, Mr Varadkar resigned as the prime minister.
Similarly, the political commentator highlights instability in the German parliament due to the surge of the Greens.
Mr Wallace wrote: “Less stability at home makes for more fractious member states at EU summits. Leaders without good majorities find it hard to agree things, and are more prone to being brought down suddenly.”
The final issue facing the bloc is the EU’s reluctance to initiate reform.
Mr Wallace said: “The EU’s biggest difficulty is that despite the huge alarm which Brexit ought to have sounded, Brussels still refuses to consider whether the project needs democratic reform or strategic redirection.
“More integration appears to be their only answer, regardless of the question.”
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