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Home News Brexit – the fallout: Where next for progressives?

Brexit – the fallout: Where next for progressives?

01 July 2016

“A week is a long time in politics” – the phrase coined by a 1960s British Labour prime minister has become a cliche. But no week in modern European politics has ever felt as long as the seven days since the British electorate went to the polls and rejected UK membership of the EU.

One week on from the devastating news of the result, and as the dust begins to settle, Policy Network brings together perspectives on the ramifications of Brexit, both for Britain and the rest of the continent.

The UK has lost its prime minister and seen civil war break out in the Labour party. Our correspondents examine just how divided a country the result exposes and ask to what extent it was ‘Labour wot lost it’.

In a passionate rallying call Policy Network co-chair Roger Liddle makes a plea for progressives to develop a new social agenda for Europe to puncture the surge of populism that threatens the very existence of the EU.

Across Europe the question is who will be the next ‘exit’. Among others we hear from the Netherlands that ‘Nexit’ could be next; from Italy about the need to make Europe relevant again beyond the elite and from Hungary on how flirting domestically with British style Euroscepticism may prove a dangerous game.

Whatever country they write from our correspondents are clear – however crestfallen by the June 23rd result, progressives can’t put their heads in the sand and must heed the lessons from Brexit before redoubling their efforts to rebuild a Europe of unity and hope.

Only a progressive programme for Europe can puncture the surge in populism which currently threatens the existence of the EU
The vote distribution from last week’s referendum paints a picture of a divided Britain
Hungary’s populist right acknowledge the damage Brexit will cause. But Prime Minister Orbán should learn the lesson that flirting with Euroscepticism domestically is a dangerous game
The manner in which the EU handles Brexit and its fallout could end up deciding the fate of Dutch membership

Italy will defend Europe from rampant nationalism, but the EU must no longer be perceived as the experiment of a small elite

Danish Eurosceptics are likely to be re-energised by the loss of the UK as a vital ally to Denmark’s interests within the EU
Young generations grasp the big-picture strengths of the EU. These must be made more apparent to all
The knowledge that the uncertainty of Brexit could stir up serious problems for Ireland has necessitated a calm and measured response so far
Spain may be pre-occupied with its own domestic political turmoil, but there are parallels with the UK’s Brexit vote

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