Following Brexit, other countries have also started to consider leaving the European Union.
When British leaders decided to vote on whether their country should leave the EU last summer, other world leaders began watching closely.
In the time leading to the Brexit vote, citizens of the EU asked if other countries would also consider leaving the EU. Since those in favor of the “leave” won Brexit, citizens have been asking “who will be next?” Marine Le Pen, “National Front” party candidate for president of France, hopes it will be her country.
According to The Sun, a UK news company, Le Pen, whose father, Jean-Marie, founded her party, has repeatedly praised the secession campaign and advocated for France leaving the EU.
“We will have to find a compromise with Europe to regain sovereignty,” she said, according to The Sun. If no compromise is found, Le Pen said she wanted to organize a “Frexit” referendum, “to resign from this nightmare and become free again.”
Warren Roby, professor of language studies at John Brown University who has taught at two institutions in France, said, “I think it highly unlikely that France will leave the EU. I think the more likely candidate is Denmark. However, if France pulls out, the EU will just become a German influence zone and it will then fall apart.”
Andrew Heldenbrand, a senior missionary kid from Spain, also offered his opinion of how “Frexit” might affect the EU. “After Brexit, it would probably be a bigger blow than Brexit was, because France plays such an integral part in the EU,” he said. “[Frexit] would be like for one of the core members, who had wholeheartedly gone in for the Union, to break away. When you take out the strong players, I think the whole [EU] is going to fall apart.”
Both Roby and Heldenbrand mentioned that Britain was only partially in the EU since it never joined the Eurozone. Roby said that because of this and “British insularity,” Brexit came as no surprise to him.
Heldenbrand offered an explanation of some benefits and downsides for countries being in the EU. “When the EU is at its peak, there’s a lot of stability. When one country would fall, the others were able to pick it up,” he said. “I guess the bad news is that these days there are so many countries that are struggling, it’s dragging down the ones…at the top. So that’s frustrating people in wealthier countries who aren’t having so many economic troubles.”
Roby said, “Generally [there are] more benefits in the free circulation of people and goods. But, [there is also] the strain of getting along with neighbors with which one has had some bad history. Many countries are suspicious of Germany. WWII is still a vivid memory.”
Roby and Heldenbrand cited motivations for the secession. “I think a lot of it comes from nationalism, which is kind of European tradition,” Heldenbrand said. “That’s just the way it is in most European countries.” Heldenbrand said that similar things are taking place in American, that citizens are starting to argue for insularity and blaming problems on minorities and immigrants.
Roby mentioned the same motivating factor. “Nationalism is always bubbling under the surface. The pressure from non-European immigrants is stirring the pot,” he said.
Heldenbrand offered his final thoughts on Brexit, “Frexit” and European nationalism. “I’m not thrilled to see this happening with people I love. These are my friends, and this sentiment of…bloated nationalism is just kind of creepy,” he said. “It still makes me sad to think that people that I love are blind to the motivation behind [these issues].”