Five Questions on Brexit to NTINA TZOUVALA

1. What were your thoughts when you first heard of the result of the referendum this morning?

Being a migrant from the EU (and especially from a country of the European South, Greece) in a county that voted solidly for Leave (Durham – 57,5% Leave), my first reaction was to feel unwanted and rejected. The idea that people like myself are probably blamed by many Leave supporters for the very real issues of poverty and deprivation faced by the region was particularly hurtful. Moreover, I felt quite detached from the UK society. Since I work for a UK university, and support for Leave amongst academics was marginal, I felt that we need to reflect seriously on issues of stratification of the UK society. Supporters of Remain (including myself) need to take into account our very partial understanding of the UK society before resorting to arguments that blame all Leavers as misguided or misinformed.

2. Could an exit of the UK result in changes to the constitutional setup of the European Union, for better or worse?

The course of the Article 50 negotiations will determine the answer here. Generally speaking, I could envisage two scenarios. The first would be the emergence/solidification of different forms of EU membership and/or different degrees of attachment to the integration project. The frequent opt-outs of the UK have paved already the way for such a structure. Of course, the question remains whether this would be a viable arrangement, or whether it will be the first step towards the dissolution of the Union or toward some form of ‚loose‘ common market space. The optimistic scenario would be for the EU to respond to the fact that a significant percentage of Leave supporters expressed concerns about accountability and democratic participation in decision-making on the EU level. The language deployed by Leave camp leaders was frequently misleading, especially when it came to the usage of the word ’sovereignty‘ ...

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