Less than a week after the historic British vote to exit (Brexit) the European Union (EU), calls for a similar referendum are spreading like wildfire across Europe, enveloping even Germany. “Experts” across the continent are warning that Brexit would lead to the entire break-up of EU.
Here are the countries (Note that national independence movements to exit to EU are all archly described by the media as “far-right” — the media’s equivalent for fascist):
Brexit is a huge blow to Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party. A survey revealed that 48% of Italians would leave the EU if presented with a referendum. The leader of the right-wing Northern League party Tweeted a celebratory message following Brexit: “Long live the courage of free citizens! Heart, head and pride defeated lies, threats and blackmail. THANK YOU, UK, now it’s our turn.”
Buoyed by big gains in local elections, the anti-establihsment 5-Star movement has officially called for a referendum on whether to keep the Euro. Luigi Di Maio, a vice president of the lower house of parliament, said: “We want a consultative referendum on the Euro. The 5-Star movement has called for two different currencies in Europe, one for the rich northern countries, another for southern nations. While any such referendums on the EU or the Euro would be merely a test of public opinion because Italian law does not allow referendums to change international treaties, a victory would send a clear signal to the government, especially in the wake of Brexit. The Euro as it is today does not work. We either have alternative currencies or a ‘Euro 2’.”
In France, National Front party leader Marine Le Pen promised voters their own referendum as she declared her support for Brexit. She said: “I would have voted for Brexit. France has a thousand more reasons to leave than the UK because we have the euro and Schengen. This result shows the EU is decaying, there are cracks everywhere.” (Schengen is the area in the EU, comprised of 26 countries, where passports and any other types of border control at their mutual borders are abolished.)
The leader of the “far-right” Danish People’s Party, Kristian Thulesen Dahls, says Denmark should now follow Britain’s lead and hold a referendum on its membership. He said: “If a majority in [the Danish] parliament for some reason will not be involved in this, why not ask the Danes in a referendum decide the case?”
If Denmark goes ahead, Irene Wennemo, state secretary to Sweden’s minister for employment, said the anti-EU sentiment could spread through Scandinavia and raise the possibility of a vote in Sweden.
Eurosceptic feeling is also surging in the Netherlands, with two-thirds of voters rejecting a Ukraine-EU treaty on closer political and economic ties, which would expand the EU. Geert Wilders, outspoken critic of Islam and leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, declared Brexit to be the “beginning of the end” for the Dutch government and the EU.
(Source for 1-5: Express)
“Far right” figures in Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland or AfD) have promised to call their own vote if they attain power in general election next autumn.
Party leader Frauke Petry, who caused controversy earlier this year when she called on German police to open fire on lawless refugee migrants, vowed that “Next year the AfD will enter the German parliament and Dexit will be top on our agenda.” (Dexit = Deutschland Exit)
Petry calls Brussels, EU’s capital, a “bureaucracy monster”. She hails Brexit as “the chance for a new Europe, one which maintains partnerships and respected national sovereignties. The Great Britain decision to leave the EU is a signal to the Brussels Politburo and its bureaucratic attachments. If the EU does not finally leave its wrong path, and the quasi-socialist experiment of deeper political integration, more European Nations will reclaim their sovereignty the way British are. The result would be more exits. At the very least the Brussels bureaucracy must be radically reduced and the centralist regulation craze ended. The time is ripe for a new Europe, a Europe of fatherlands, where we peacefully trade with each other, maintain partnerships and respect the will of the national sovereignties. One can only warn the German government not to fill the missing British net contribution with German tax money and thus continue the political fallacy.”
However a chance of a German EU referendum may not be that simple because Germany’s post-war constitution currently only allows for referendums if the constitution itself or the territories of the states making up the republic are to be reformed. Ralph Kampwirth of the Initiative & Referendum Institute Europe explained that referendum is tainted by Nazi associations: “Germany is one of the few EU countries with no experience of national referendums. In the [pre-Nazi] Weimar Republic there were two national referendums; during the Nazi reign, three plebiscites were held, with biased questions and blatant manipulation of results. A referendum does not mandate an organised political opposition – it simply requires a yes or no answer – one reason why both Napoleon and Hitler were enamoured of them.” (Source: Express)
A study by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) found that “insurgent parties” in 34 EU countries are calling for a public vote on matters ranging from their countries’ membership of the EU to refugee policy. In addition to the above six countries, the list also includes Austria, Finland, Hungary, Ireland and Poland. (Express)
Mark Leonard of ECFR said: “Many of these insurgent parties have views on foreign policy that are closer to President Putin than President Obama. They are overturning an elite foreign policy consensus based on Atlanticism and liberal democracy that has dominated for the last fifty years. We can’t dismiss them as fringe parties – they represent a revolution in European foreign policy. Their chosen weapon is using referenda to whip up popular support on their pet issues.Even where they don’t win power directly, they are so politically powerful that they are forcing mainstream parties to adopt their positions.”
The ECFR report blamed Europe’s fear of Turkey joining the EU and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “refugees welcome” policy as major reasons behind a rapid rise in support for “extremist” anti-EU parties — right-wing and far-left — and their attempts to take back control of their countries.