What will the long-term impact of Brexit be?

After the end of the transition phase the UK left the EU's single market and customs union at the start of the new year. London and Brussels narrowly avoided a no-deal Brexit with a last-minute deal. Europe's media discuss the long-term consequences on both sides of the English Channel.

Open/close all quotes
Der Nordschleswiger (DK) /

Denmark needs a new friend

For a long time Britain was a close ally of Denmark in the EU. Now the country needs new friends. Der Nordschleswiger, the newspaper of the German minority in Denmark, recommends Germany:

“The Danes must seek out new allies in the EU. For now the choice seems to have fallen on small countries like Austria and the Netherlands, but after the British 'goodbye', how about saying 'Guten Tag' to Germany? ... Denmark's new strong ally is a real neighbour and a true friend, but it is also the country that is setting the pace in the EU. Can Denmark cast off of its remaining inhibitions, stand by Germany and contribute to the EU's development with its own visions, instead of just complaining as a backbencher? It's entirely conceivable that Denmark, like Britain, will strike out on a new path - but within the Union.”

Neatkarīgā (LV) /

France's influence increasing

Neatkarīgā sees France as the EU's new political heavyweight after Brexit:

“It is now clear that the economic consequences of Brexit will be considerably less dramatic than those of Covid-19, but the departure of the UK will have a significant impact on the political processes in the EU. Germany, which has always been the dominant economic power in the European Union, will remain so. ... But with Britain's exit, France's influence on the outcome of decisions has increased. Moreover, it is currently the only state in the EU with nuclear weapons, it has the greatest military potential, and it is also the only EU member with a veto in the UN Security Council.”

Libération (FR) /

Such developments take a long time

Britain's separation from the EU will continue to be a very slow process, predicts Denis MacShane, former Minister for Europe under Tony Blair, in Libération:

“Brexit will not end on December 31. I used the word 'Brexit' for the first time in 2012, and I've now invented a successor term, 'Brexeternity', because the question of Europe will continue to be an issue for the British for decades, like the 'Irish question'. This formula was first used by Benjamin Disraeli in the House of Commons in 1844. It took more than a century to get an answer!”

Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

Economic realism will prevail

Trade relations are unlikely to change in the long run, Corriere del Ticino believes:

“In the short term, there may be some obstacles and the cost of economic relations will rise, but London will hardly be able to revolutionise its trade geography. Even if the EU's share in British imports and exports drops further in the coming years, the economic data suggests that it's unlikely if not impossible that the EU will drop to the status of a secondary partner. If anything, Britain and the EU will likely have to strike more trade deals in the future. Even if it was late and incomplete, the post-Brexit deal at least went in the direction of a certain economic realism.”

Ria Nowosti (RU) /

Sweet revenge for Brussels

The Scottish Parliament has rejected London's last-minute Brexit deal with the EU, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a new bid to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence. Ria Novosti expects that this time the EU will not remain neutral on the issue:

“London is unable to defuse Scottish discontent. ... While it cannot be ruled out that Brexit will prove to be a good thing for the UK at some point, for the time being improvements are hardly to be expected. ... Britain has dealt a serious blow to European unity. The last few years have shown that the EU will not forgive London for this anytime soon and use every opportunity to retaliate. And it's hard to imagine a sweeter revenge than Scotland's departure from the United Kingdom.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Losing some of its charm

Editor-in-chief Bogusław Chrabota discusses a completely different dimension of the Brexit in Rzeczpospolita:

“Quite apart from the 'hard' politics there is also a personal, purely human element to all this. I used to have a friendly attitude towards London and Oxford. English pride and self-righteousness made me smile. I turned a blind eye. Today they amuse and irritate me, but above all they bore me. On top of that, I've lost the urge to cross the English Channel. When will I visit the UK again? Not so soon. Before that I'll probably travel to Edinburgh to celebrate the independence of my Scottish colleagues.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

Erasmus and the end of 'sexual integration'

Helsingin Sanomat laments the fact that the UK will no longer participate in the Erasmus programme:

“One of the saddest consequences of the British leaving the EU is their withdrawal from the European Union's Erasmus student exchange programme. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has justified the withdrawal citing the high cost of the programme. ... Launched in 1987, the Erasmus scheme meant practical integration for Europe's students. Nine million students have taken part in it, and almost one in four of them found his or her life partner through it. Italian writer Umberto Eco has even referred to Erasmus as Europe's 'sexual integration'. By leaving the programme, Britain is not only cutting its ties to the EU, but also to all Europeans.”