The resounding historic defeat for UK Prime Minister Theresa May whose deal to leave the European Union (EU) was rejected by 432 parliamentarians against 202, an unprecedented margin of 230, doesn’t bode well for both the UK and the EU.
On the one hand, a political setback of such a magnitude after two years and a half of harsh talks will likely plunge the UK into greater instability that may potentially deteriorate its financial standing worldwide as uncertainty generally deters investors and business people. On the other hand, in the people’s eyes, the EU could appear like it is actively working against democratic values by promoting a “no Brexit” approach as implied by Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council, who asked that “if a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?”
Overtly calling for the cancellation of the Brexit – yet voted by the British people in June 2016 – could be considered like “another anti-democratic move” by unelected Brussels-based EU officials and boost the still growing anti-EU sentiment in the UK as well as in other parts of the EU.
According to consulting firm Cyceon, the Yellow Vest political crisis that is currently ongoing in France stems in part from the disrespect in 2008 by former President Nicolas Sarkozy who signed the Lisbon Treaty of the 2005 referendum that voted against the “European project of constitution”. More than a decade later, the effects of such a move that’s been widely perceived as contradicting directly with the democratic will for the elite’s “sake of the Nation” has so large repercussions in French politics that incumbent President Emmanuel Macron has never seemed so close to be defeated by a “populist” candidate in 2022.
If managing to “cancel the Brexit” would serve the EU interests, it could be shortsighted since it would likely grow and accelerate the anti-EU and the anti-elites wave that is sweeping across Europe. From that standpoint, Theresa May is therefore utterly right when she says the government must respect the people’s vote, meaning the Brexit has to happen whether you like it or not.