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Brexit, a European Spring

The world was surprised by Britain’s decision to leave the EU

Turki Aldakhil

Published: Updated:

The world was surprised by Britain’s decision to leave the EU. Analysts say repercussions are not limited to the regression of Western influence, but also the possible disintegration of the EU and the collapse of Britain’s global role. This comes as right-wing movements expand and head toward isolation rather than openness.

After exiting the EU, Brits will need a visa to enter the union’s 27 countries. British families will spend more when vacationing there, due to sterling’s decreased value and EU deals allowing European airliners to work in European airspace without restraint.

Leaving the EU will cause huge problems for the 1.3 million Brits living in different parts of Europe, such as Spain (319,000), Ireland (249,000), France (171,000) and Germany (100,000).

Retired Brits could see their funds melt away due to sterling’s deterioration. Other problems will arise, such as border issues with Spain.

Britain’s exit will also worsen problems over health insurance. These repercussions will all surface in the near future. Some say leaving the EU will benefit British society long-term, but youths are angry at the referendum result.

Britain’s exit is the first nail in the coffin of the EU and the euro. It marks the beginning of a European Spring

Turki Aldakhil

Democracy

The lesson learnt in the Arab world from these developments is that democracy in a country such as Britain did not just emerge, and was not suddenly devised. Britain has known for centuries how to establish political theories. Whatever the result of elections or a referendum, a mature democratic process is based on a deep structure that cannot be shaken.

Following the referendum, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The British people have voted to leave the EU, and their will must be respected.” He added that the losing side, of which he is a part, must help make the decision succeed.

Britain’s exit is the first nail in the coffin of the EU and the euro. It marks the beginning of a European Spring. In democracies, there is no right or wrong, only possibilities and transformations. There are voices that favor one program over another. This is what happened in Britain.

There are demands for referendums on several matters. Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, who is fond of history, expects the end of Europe as we have known it since the end of World War II, and expects the continent to draw itself a different model. Perhaps the coming days will clarify the results of this change.

Retreat may be the world’s slogan in the coming decades. Brexit shows that isolation is desired regardless of its cost. History has shown that what is happening in Europe is an indicator of permanent transformation that is linked to how the world is viewed and how it changes, especially during brutal crises. It is the beginning of a new era.

This article was first published in Al Bayan on June 29, 2016.
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Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.