EU supporters tend to take the unlimited continuation of the project for granted, neglecting to take account of the risks it faces and the assumptions on which it is based.
The recent BBC news article by Becky Branford highlights the question we have been asking: does the EU have a secure future? The answer to this question is not as obvious as is being assumed by Remain supporters, who do not doubt the continuing existence of the EU and assume that whatever benefits Britain may have received from membership will be retained.
The article quotes from the Financial Stability Review, published by the European Central Bank (ECB). “Political risks have increased across the euro area and pose a challenge to fiscal and structural reform implementation and, by extension, to public debt sustainability.” This is a stark warning from within the heart of the regime.
The Review continues, “This, in turn, may cause renewed pressure on more vulnerable sovereigns and potentially contribute to contagion and re-fragmentation in the euro area“. Another word for ‘re-fragmentation’ is ‘break-up’.
Political risks are associated with the rise of populist parties, of both left and right, which are attracting growing support in many EU countries, as illustrated here:
There are indications that economically weaker, southern countries are experiencing growing left-wing populism while stronger, northern countries are seeing more right-wing populism. Both centre on opposition to EU policies; austerity in the south and immigration in the north. If this trend continues, which seems likely, and political support is sucked from the centre towards the Euro-sceptic wings, then the future of the EU will be less secure than is uncritically assumed by those who wish to remain in its once-comfortable embrace.
Unless this assumption is challenged and the possibility of break-up is factored into political and economic arguments, Britons may face a future far bleaker than the uncertainties of ‘going it alone’ as Brexit is sometimes misleadingly described.
Even if you accept the isolationist implications of ‘going it alone’, which we don’t, this prospect may be better than the alternative, ‘asleep in the dark’.