The EU lacks capacity to change situations in countries where the migrants originate.
By Charles Oketcha
After the British referendum to leave the European Union favoured its departure, prominent European leaders and the situation in the financial markets scattered seeds of dread about the outcome of Brexit and sent protesters on London streets. With the vacuum created at the top due to David Cameron's pledge to resign, there was no one to invoke the Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to trigger negotiations for withdrawal of UK's membership from the Union.
The presidents of the European Commission and European Council respectively had no kind words after Britain's decision to leave amidst the current refugee crisis. In the EU summit held immediately after the vote, ideas were mooted behind closed doors of making the UK suffer the aftermath of the exit to discourage other members states from doing the same. Germany's Angela Merkel and others suggested a limited timeline so that the EU can quickly recover from the loss of a key member state.
However, during the recent NATO summit held in Warsaw Poland, US president Barak Obama held discussions with the European Commission President Donald Tusk and Council President Jean-Claude Juncker opposing their treatment of Britain as an adversary. He urged them to respect the voters' decision and reiterated UK's role in Europe in a manner that took masks off their faces! He said only UK has the number of ground troops that can guarantee Europe's security in the event of a Russian aggression.
After Russia's annexation of Crimea, NATO has upgraded its deployment in Europe and UK is expected to send ground troops to Austria, Poland and other European states. Security installations in Scotland that are shared by England, Wales and NATO complicate the possibility of its breakaway from the UK. Scotland that voted to remain in the EU was anticipated to break away which would make Brexit catastrophic. The remain campaigners used the likely economic repercussions to dissuade the leave voters.
The EU lacks capacity to change situations in countries where the migrants originate. It provides financial assistance for the African Union troops in Somalia but not able to mobilize troops from its member countries for such missions. It instead relies on the UN, NATO and United States to change the security situations in Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and other places ravaged by conflicts.
This state of affairs exposes the EU's frailty which manifests in several ways. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has faced opposition at home for admitting the vast number of refugees into her country. This intensified after cases of rape and sexual assault instigated by foreigners occurred in Cologne and other cities. Britain which is a favourite destination for migrants was a source of reprieve and its departure to avoid immense burden imposed by incoming migrants on public services and jobs is a nightmare to Germany.
Besides, non-EU countries like Switzerland, Norway, Iceland negotiated agreements to allow their citizens move and work within the EU. Such existing agreements are a prelude to the new form of relationship that should exist between Britain and the remaining EU member countries.
This coupled UK's paramount security role in Europe makes Brexit irreversible. Now that the long awaited Cameron's resignation in October has been cut short by Tereza May's quick ascension as premier, let's watch the space.
The Brexit referendum which saw British MP Jo Cox, shot, stabbed and killed a few days to voting, has exposed and scaled down the hitherto exaggerated status of the European political civilization which other countries including China led by the non-democratic Communist Party are coerced to emulate.
The writer is a teacher at St. Paul's College, Mbale.