Sunday, June 26, 2016

Brexit Contagion?

Brexit Contagion?

by Stephen Lendman

Euroskepticism isn’t confined to Britain. According to a Pew Research (PR) study conducted in April and May, it’s on the rise in other European countries.

“The British are not the only ones with doubts about the European Union,” said PR’s Bruce Stokes. “The EU is again experiencing a sharp dip in public support in a number of its largest member states.”

French and Greek anti-EU sentiment is greater than in Britain. Significant numbers of Germans, Spaniards, Swedes, Dutch citizens, Italians and others across Europe lost faith in a system harming their economic well-being, along with how Brussels is handling the refugee crisis.

Majorities in Britain and Greece, “along with significant minorities in other key (EU) nations, want some powers returned from Brussels to national governments,” said PR.

Sentiment is evenly split. A slight 51% majority of respondents view the EU favorably. “A median 42% in these 10 (largest) nations want more power returned to the their national capitals…”

Only 19% “favor giving Brussels more power.” A fourth of respondents prefer the status quo. Over two-thirds call Brexit a bad thing.

Anti-EU sentiment grew as economic conditions deteriorated, exacerbated by neoliberal harshness, paying bankers first, and disapproval over “Brussels handling of the refugee issue.”

The 1957 Treaty of Rome founding EU document obligates its initial six member states and subsequent ones “to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the people of Europe.”

Early this year, UK Prime Minister David Cameron got Brussels to exempt Britain from the Rome Treaty’s “references to ever closer union” among member states.

Disagreement over centralized governance v. devolution prevails across Europe. According to PR, majorities in six of its 10 surveyed countries support greater independence.

“(L)ittle enthusiasm” exists for empowering Brussels more than already - 6% in Britain, 8% in Greece, 34% in France, the strongest backing registered, two-thirds in the country expressing opposition.

In the wake of Thursday’s vote, EU leaders fear Brexit may spark contagion, referendums if held in other member states going the same way as Britain.

Protracted hard times exacerbated by force-fed austerity sparked growing public discontent, especially in France. Street rage since March against anti-worker legislation, enacted by decree, shows no signs of ending.

Thursday’s UK vote was the beginning of a protracted process, to be intentionally drawn out to counter Brexit sentiment, continuing for many months, market turbulence and other disruptions along the way.

Headlines hyping Britain leaving the EU belie reality. The same goes for EU leaders telling Cameron to get on with it - issuing a statement, saying “give effect to this decision of the British people as soon as possible, however painful that process may be.”

Chances for Brexit are virtually nil because powerful US and European interests reject it.

In the end, expect EU unity to be preserved, Britain remaining a member state, perhaps granted some insignificant cosmetic changes, creating the illusion of what Brexit supporters want.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


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