The Brexit referendum not only divided British society but also made the whole international community reflect on the future of the European Union after the leave of the United Kingdom. According to Chitralekha Basu, Assistant Professor for Empirical Democratic Theory at the Cologne Center for Comparative Politics, Brexit happened largely because it has fueled already existing fears and anxiety. Among them, Basu mentions the issue of immigration, excessive regulations of the EU on the UK, and the fact that the campaign of the “remainers” came off much worse than that of EU skeptics. “Large newspapers like the Times, the Financial Times, the Independent, and The Guardian are all in favor of staying in the EU. But many of the more popular newspapers - including almost all tabloids - do not,” explains the professor.
At the moment, Chitralekha Basu finds it difficult to come up with an optimistic scenario for the country's future: “Without a trade agreement, British companies will have to make profound adjustments and face economic costs. Some may become bankrupt in the process”. However, Basu also notes one clear positive outcome which is the rise of political activism. In her view, it creates raising awareness of the European issue and that can have a positive effect in the long term.
Read the complete text based on the interview with Chitralekha Basu in the Kölner Universitätsmagazin.