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Friday, July 23, 2021

EU struggling to cope without UK as bloc 'more politically fragmented' after Brexit

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Brexit: Lord Adonis says UK ‘could rejoin the EU’

The EU’s single market commissioner, Thierry Breton, claimed Brexit has “weakened and isolated the UK”. Any concrete benefits for Britain are “hard to see”, Mr Breton said, while the pandemic has exposed even further downsides of a UK outside a collective bloc. His comments come five years on from the historic vote in 2016 which saw 52 percent of Britons make their disdain for Brussels heard.

The UK wouldn’t leave the EU for another four years, however.

Only at the turn of 2021 did the country officially exit the single market and customs union.

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While many hailed it as a victory for Britain, Mr Breton, talking to the Guardian, said the promises made by Brexit campaigners were “far from reality” as the two powers build a new relationship.

Yet, myriad reports and studies paint a bleak picture for the EU.

EU news: The bloc is tipped to become 'more politically fragmented' after Brexit

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EU news: The bloc is tipped to become ‘more politically fragmented’ after Brexit (Image: GETTY)

Brexit day: Today marks five years since the UK voted to leave the EU

Brexit day: Today marks five years since the UK voted to leave the EU (Image: GETTY)

In a paper published by the Centre for European Reform (CER) in 2019, it was suggested that the bloc will become “more politically fragmented” post-Brexit.

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This was in part, it said, because the “European Commission and Parliament will be less likely to reflect British ways of thinking and working”.

The report said: “The new European Parliament will be more politically fragmented and less likely to back freer trade with third countries and market liberalisation internally.”

It did note, however, that this would not be a direct result of Brexit, but “because of the evolution of politics in the EU.”

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Ursula von der Leyen: The Commission President is looking to bolster the bloc post-pandemic

Ursula von der Leyen: The Commission President is looking to bolster the bloc post-pandemic (Image: GETTY)

Yet, it added: “The departure of British MEPs from the European Parliament will, however, reinforce this trend.

“Conservative and Labour MEPs often worked hand in hand to support economically liberal policies.

“Populist parties, more supportive of protectionist policies, are expected to do well in the May European Parliament elections.

“Such parties are also likely to benefit disproportionately from the redistribution of 27 of the UK’s current seats among the remaining member states.

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Angela Merkel: Germany is tipped to benefit from the UK's absence

Angela Merkel: Germany is tipped to benefit from the UK’s absence (Image: GETTY)

David Frost: The UK's chief Brexit negotiator

David Frost: The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator (Image: GETTY)

“France and Spain will gain five each, and Italy three; and opinion polls suggest that eurosceptic parties could come out on top in the European Parliament elections in France and Italy.”

Eurosceptic parties went on to make major gains at the European elections in 2019, as well as environmentalist and liberal parties.

Brexit is also expected to affect the way the EU operates.

The “British way of working and administration” has increased operational efficiency within Brussels.

Brexit timeline: The events leading up to Britain's eventual full departure from the EU

Brexit timeline: The events leading up to Britain’s eventual full departure from the EU (Image: Express Newspapers)

The extent of this was proved when the EU indicated that it wished to retain a number of British workers in Brussels who have permanent contracts, and would evaluate the position of temporary workers.

The bloc is not expected to recruit British workers in the future unless they have specific skills that EU nationals do not, however.

Meanwhile, the UK struck its first trade deal from scratch with Australia this month.

It was the first time the country had done so since leaving the EU.

Australia: The UK secured its free trade post-Brexit this month

Australia: The UK secured its free trade post-Brexit this month (Image: GETTY)

A number of existing deals have also been renewed with countries around the world.

Any negatives of Brexit have so far been difficult to fully assess and separate from the fallouts inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic.

British exports to the EU have been hardest hit by new border formalities, despite a last-minute deal struck in December ensuring tariff-free trade.

Many of the initial “teething problems” reported in January have, however, since been smoothed-out.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

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EU struggling to cope without UK as bloc 'more politically fragmented' after Brexit
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