Text: Narcis George Matache
Our home, our identity, our future.
The UK flag has been taken down from the European institutions, beginning a new era in the life of European citizens. Despite efforts from British ideologues and Russian meddling, the European Union is not crumbling anytime soon. The support for the European Union has reached historically high levels, yet more than ever, your involvement is needed to defend our European future.
While hundreds of people gathered with candles in front of the European Parliament singing with grieving voices “auld lang syne” to say goodbye to their brothers and sisters from the other side of the channel, a few people with UK flags adorned on their backs rejoiced the exit of Britannia from the European Union as the clock hit midnight on the last day of January 2020.
As a witness to the events and a proud European, it has been a difficult night for me. It was difficult for me, yet I cannot imagine what was in the hearts of the millions of Europeans now trapped outside of the Union. For many, the European identity and reality have been the only one they ever got to know. Yet, the message from them has been loud and clear, “WE WILL BE BACK.”
Accepted after 12 years of waiting to become a member of the Union, the “sick child of Europe” became a champion of the European values and enlargement, while it blocked deeper integration between the member states. Now, after 47 years of membership, backed by a strong economy, Britain has decided to let itself be trapped in the dreams of former glory.
However, for at least a year, there will be a transition period in which everything stays the same, with the exception that British legislators have no more say on the European legislative process. Even if the leaders of the UK desire an end to the freedom of movement for people, the European institutions are crystal clear about their intentions, the free trade deal will not be what the UK desires if it doesn’t include freedom of movement.
"Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?"
The European Union after Brexit The support for the European Union has grown steadily ever since the vote on Brexit happened back in 2016. However, at the same time, anti-European parties have emerged in almost all the member states, with Denmark not being an exception. While their rhetoric has reached some citizens, the large majority understand what a disaster that would be.
There are, however no signs that another member state prepares to leave anytime soon. In fact, talks have started for a treaty revision for deeper integration, the media mentions the work of the European Union institutions more often than before and it has become common among the youth to show European symbols on their clothing and whatnot. The people have been reminded through Brexit of the importance of the European Union and what it brings them. Pro European movements in Denmark The exit of the UK has put Denmark in the limelight as the member state with the most opt-outs from applying EU legislation (Economic and Monetary Union, Security and Defence Policy, Justice Policies). The European Union needs more Danish leadership and that can only be achieved by removing the opt-outs and fully embracing the European path to the future.
You can help make Denmark more European and Europe more Danish, by joining the European Movement (Europabevægelsen.dk) and European Youth Denmark (Europæisk Ungdom Danmark – euro.dk).