In January 2019, thirty Nobel laureates, historians and writers co-signed a treatise. Their central plank was quelling the rise of populist politics in Europe. It was, they said, time to “fight for the idea of Europe or see it perish beneath the wave of populism”.
The fundamental risk was seeing everything built on closer relations and commonalities of beliefs submerged by “resentment, hatred and their cortege of sad passions”.
That the populists, the ultra naturalists, see themselves as heroes of the people, as saviours, was largely ignored. With Russia and the United States currently keen on weakening the European Union, it’s no surprise that claims of political interference regularly surface.
With the impending conclusion of Brexit – surely the longest running saga since the world wondered who shot J.R. or Bobby Ewing went into the shower – populists are watching to see whether the United Kingdom suffers a touch of economic sunstroke.
It will be no surprise if they do; Noël Coward declared that Mad Dogs and Englishman go out in the midday sun, with many believe Brexit the result of a nation’s collective sunstroke.
The pain hasn’t put other countries off so which of Europe’s remaining 27 are likeliest to leave the EU and which of them will leave before 2025?
Despite electing a populist government, any Italian departure from Europe is likely to refer only to Serie A clubs being knocked out of the Champions League. The Five Star Movement isn’t keen on leaving the EU nor is the League, their coalition partners.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte invoked the spirit of George HW Bush when he said, “Read my lips: for Italy, there is no chance of Italexit, to get out of Europe or the Eurozone.”
Of course, “Read my lips” coming from a politicians mouth is usually prefaces a lie.
It may not be a voluntary exIT; Italy’s debt burden and high-spending budget plans put the country on a repeated collision course with the EU with the ultimate penalty being expulsion from the Euro and EU itself.
Odds on Italy leaving the EU before 2025: 5/1 with Novibet.
Before Brexit there was Grexit. In the recent BBC documentary “Inside Europe: 10 Years of Turmoil”, just how close Europe came to its’ first departure was laid bare. The wire reverberated as the intense negotiations between the EU and the Greek government ended with a solution.
Some think the ‘needle’ has never left the relationship, lurking in the sub-conscious of a proud nation. With a general election in October 2019, there is a real concern that the country may return a more resolutely Eurosceptic government.
Austerity is never the politics of popularity and while the ‘Age of Memorandum’ is over, it is far from forgotten. Conservative politics are gaining ground as a result of the era so a genuine Grexit can’t be ruled out.
Odds on Greece leaving the EU before 2025: 9/1 with Novibet.
Marine Le Pen served a warning on France’s political classes in the last presidential election by reaching the final round. That she was crushed by Emmanuel Macron seems to have engendered some complacency. Le Pen had her moment in the sun and was consigned to the sidelines.
The gilets Jaunes protests are far from quelled as Macron is condemned by the far right. The president who pledged to be different is exactly the same as every other politician. While the nation condemns the antisemitism marring some of the protests, it may be supporting the protesters quietly.
Macron continues to try to inflate France’s importance in the EU, particularly with Angela Merkel in the death throes of her chancellorship in Germany. However, the former banker cannot be certain of a second term as French president. Could he, like David Cameron, be feeding EU discontent in his nation at the very time he seeks to quell it?
Odds on France leaving the EU before 2025: 14/1 with Novibet.
Odds from Novibet.co.uk