Moving Beyond the Definition of “Democracy”

Author Erik Ananyan

Hour after hour, people around the globe, turn on their TVs to hear the latest news about the ongoing discussions about the results of the British referendum on leaving the European Union (EU), or shortly said – Brexit. The overall 71.8% voter turnout in the referendum makes clear the historical importance of the event for the residents of the United Kingdom. The option of leaving the Union won by 52% to 48%. After the announcements from the leaders of the European Parliament and European Commission about their desire of Britain leaving the EU as soon, as possible, the situation becomes even more tensed. It is safe to say that the results of the referendum have turned into a big hit towards the European Union, which has managed to lose the 5th biggest economy in the world, as well as significantly reduce its own international influence, while still being in the midst of political, economical and social crisis. With an endless list of British politicians talking about Brexit as a solid win of democracy, the main remaining question is if it is truly right to consider the win of an idea democratic, if nearly the half of the country’s population is against it. Moreover, according to the statistics, the majority of people aged 18-44 voted to remain in the EU, while the elderly were up to leave it. So, obviously the close-to-death population has decided the future that the younger ones have to carry on. After the results of the referendum have been announced, it turns out to be obvious that the European Union is up for neither continuous renegotiations on the choice of Brits, nor any new attempts to accommodate the Britain’s “wish list”, in order to ensure their continued support for the European project. With all of these facts made clear, the only remaining question is what will be the consequences of the referendum. And though the referendum carried on just a recommendation character, this time it has turned out to be something bigger, with all of its hidden damages both for the EU and the UK.
The first negative consequence related to the UK, refers to the unity of the Kingdom. As we know the Great Britain consists of four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. With the last two voting in majority against leaving the Union, with 62% and 55.7% respectively, the results of the referendum may become a cornerstone for their future separatist endeavors. Moreover, Scotland that was threatened that they will not be able to join the EU in case of leaving the UK during their last referendum on independence in September 2014, will get a green light of becoming an independent and a separate sovereign state. What goes about the Northern Ireland, talks have started about the unification of the province with the Republic of Ireland. As the EU has always been one of the main investors in the Northern Ireland, as well as the province is afraid of losing a lot of trade agreements with the Republic because of UK leaving the EU, this talks seem to make sense. The only certain thing is that the Wales does not have any thoughts of leaving the Union, though considering the fact that they heavily rely on the England’s budget, this does not seem to be a relief for the United Kingdom.
The list of dangers for the UK continues with warnings from the financial and economic spheres. With the Pound falling down by 10%, to the minimum level with respect to the US Dollar since 30 years ago, and the number of the EU workers working in the public and business spheres of the UK, the Brits become warned. Furthermore, the 63% of the British goods exports are linked to their membership in the European Union. Though the Great Britain may reach agreements with the majority of the EU countries to continue the policy of free trade, the exporters might meet additional costs and bureaucracy for transferring their goods in the nearest future. Moving forward, leaving the Union would significantly lower the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the United Kingdom, because of the potential investors seeking a stable destinations for their money and a chaos caused by the results of the referendum may jeopardize Britain’s reputation as one of the best investment destinations. Last, but not least, the financial service area in the UK is put under a particular threat. A field, which employs nearly 2 million people, and has paid taxes of more than 66 billion pounds last year, may experience small collapses in its internal system. London may lose the status of the world’s financial capital, especially if the British banks lose their right of selling their products and services in the EU. The situation seems insoluble after the pro-European Prime Minister David Cameron has declared his resignation. Britain now has to deal with all of the accountings of the economic and monetary consequences that leaving the EU can bring to the Britain, which as Cameron claimed, may cause a recession.


KNUTSFORD, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 17: In this photo illustration, the European Union and the Union flag sit together on bunting on March 17, 2016 in Knutsford, United Kingdom. The United Kingdom will hold a referendum on June 23, 2016 to decide whether or not to remain a member of the European Union (EU), an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries which allows members to trade together in a single market and free movement across its borders for citizens. (Photo by illustration by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The list of the consequences that the EU has to deal with in case of losing a Member State in the face of the Great Britain seems to be even longer. Firstly, it is the wave of new referendums throughout the Member States of the EU. And though this may not occur in the nearest times, the informational wave, which is in some cases even more terrifying, has already spread amongst the EU. All of the skeptics of the EU throughout the Member States will get a green light for lobbying such a mean of pressure on the government, as the referendum is. And this is pretty legit, as a referendum is a normal democratic procedure. The EU did not manage to become a public entity, with its unclear quasi-state structure, in which the bureaucratic class has received a lot of authority, with a minimum level of responsibility. At the same time serious misbalance remains in the EU Member States. A common currency de-facto does not exist, and neither there is a uniform legislation for all the Member States. Moreover, the UK existed in the Union as some kind of a “giver”, though always getting very little back. Starting from the immigrant quotas to the contribution to the European Union Funds, Britain and all of the other Member States with high GDPs were always loosing. With the stock markets falling down, and the EU losing such a member as the UK is, which was not only a Member State but also a conglomeration of different countries of the former British Empire, with the economic potential a little less than the EU’s, we understand that the consequences of the UK leaving the EU, are even deeper on the Union.

The world today is a completely different place, where globalization, democracy and sympathy towards others have become vital parts of our lives. It is important to give optimal solutions to such tremendous and wide issues as the Brexit is, not only in European Union, but the whole world as well. The UK leaving the EU issue continues to challenge the international community and the principles established by humanity. As the experience of recent decades has shown, the international community and individual states must constantly work to solve the problems like this and be prepared to act in emergency situations. The most effective way to respond in both cases is a coordinated system of collaboration and communication between states and people, which will hopefully be implemented one day.

Published by Diana Ghazaryan

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