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The Australian National University

Brexit: political and security implications

European affairs specialists attempted to make sense of the Brexit referendum decision at a recent forum jointly organised by the ANU National Security College and the ANU Centre for European Studies.

Brexit public seminarThe United Kingdom’s dramatic and unexpected vote in favour of leaving the European Union (the ‘Brexit’) promises to have seismic implications both within the EU space and beyond.

The decision has raised a host of questions concerning the nature of the UK-EU divorce, the future of the European integration project, and European security in general.

On 30 June, Dr Annmarie Elijah, Associate Professor Matthew Sussex and Dr Adam Henschke discussed the current mood in the UK and the EU, and the disorganisation of the government and constituent parties after the vote to leave.

They also looked into the flow-on effects for social cohesion, mainland and economic relations, and Russia’s relationship with the EU.

Public seminar on Brexit“Let’s be clear that this is a major overhaul of how the British government and public policy making works,” said Dr Elijah, who is the Associate Director of the Centre for European Studies.

“It will need to extract itself from more than 50 bilateral trade agreements, return to representing itself at the WTO, and perhaps open negotiations with key partners to retain access already achieved through EU agreements.”

NSC Academic Director Matt Sussex said that it is popularly known that Vladimir Putin is rubbing his hands with glee over Brexit because he can take is at resounding confirmation of the Russian narrative about the West.

“That narrative has been that the EU is economically bankrupt and that it is spiritually bankrupt as well,” he said.  He went on to conclude that in the end there wasn't much that Putin could gain from the development aside from domestic propaganda points and possible relief from existing sanctions.

Brexit seminar seminar

Dr Adam Henschke concluded that there is something Australians share with the UK in terms of anger: disengagement from politics and anger at the politicians being disengaged.

“I predict that this disconnection will be expressed with an even greater vote for non-major parties at the Australian election this Saturday,” he said.
You can watch the video and listen to the podcast of this event here.



Updated:  15 July 2016/ Responsible Officer:  Head of College, National Security College/ Page Contact:  Web administrator, National Security College