ACCRA — The decision by the UK on Friday June 24, 2016 to leave the EU came as a shock to many people. Polls closing barely days before the start of voting on Friday claimed to give the “Remain” constituency the lead. It seemed a forgone conclusion that Remain will win the day. But could the purported polls giving the edge to the Remain camp have been a case of psychological statistical warfare to skew the vote toward the Remain option? We do not know but can only guess. What does the vote by Britain to leave the EU mean and what are the implications for British-African relations and EU-African relations?
The EU behemoth which comprised 28 members before the decision of Britain to leave has an interesting structure which we will explore. The EU as a system has five unelected presidents. We have (1) the unelected president of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, (2) the unelected president of the Euro Group, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, (3) the unelected president of the Euro Summit, Donald Tusk, (4) the unelected president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz and finally (5) the unelected president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, a Goldman Sachs alumnus. The five unelected presidential system is not a figment of our African imagination. This is a report from the horse’s own mouth, “The Five Presidents’ Report: Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union.”
These five unelected bureaucrats decide the fate of the 500 million or so citizens of the EU. To understand how undemocratic the structure is, the European parliament is uniquely the only parliament in the world that cannot propose legislation. The unelected officials of the European Commission led by Jean Claude Juncker is the sole body that proposes and formulates legislation. The EU Parliament just exists to rubber stamp the decisions. It is as if the office of the president of the Republic of Ghana proposes and formulates all laws which are then rubber stamped by the parliament of Ghana. That system is not democratic and is rather more representative of North Korea than anything else.
These unelected bureaucrats in Brussels make decisions for 500 million people without bearing any accountability for the good and bad of their actions. The austerity plans pursued with Nazi maniacal resolve by the European Central Bank has resulted in the words of the above mentioned report: In massive asset and property bubbles, over 18 million people unemployed across the EU, large-scale unemployment with over 50 percent youth unemployment in Greece, Spain and Portugal. The reality of the economic situation in the EU is at odds with the rosy picture that many miseducated Africans, economic and political refugees from MENA have of the EU. The neoliberal decisions of an unelected minority have caused widespread dissatisfaction among working class folks in the EU.
The decision 52 percent to 48 percent by Britain to leave the EU has led to doomsday predictions about its disastrous effects on the British economy. But does one need to be in the EU to thrive economically? Norway with its 5 million population is not a member of the EU but is part of the European Economic Area where a free trade zone is prospering. We should recall that Norway in 1995 rejected EU membership. Another country which is not part of the EU is Switzerland but which has a free trade agreement with the EU. Switzerland with its 8 million population is doing quite well economically. The UK with its 65 million population and much larger economy could negotiate such agreements with the EU. A possible danger for it could be the threat of a new Scottish vote for independence which could see the UK lose up to a third of its economic output but it would still be a bigger economy than Norway or Switzerland.
The hysterical reaction to Brexit in the western elite is due to the blow dealt to their plans for a closer EU more firmly ruled by the unelected officials in Brussels that are in turn completely under the control of the American Deep State and its Wall Street “Masters of the Universe”. A fragmented EU deals a blow to the American Deep State’s aim of using a tightly controlled monolithic EU hammer as a geopolitical tool to maintain their decaying hegemony as the American so-called Washington Consensus model crumbles, due to the geopolitical changes taking place in the world today.
Much of African-British trade which if carried out under the general auspices of EU trade agreements could be renegotiated with African countries represented by the AU or regional blocks such as ECOWAS, pressing to take advantage of the situation by seeking more favorable trade conditions in African- British trade. Another contentious area is the economic partnership agreements (EPA) that the EU negotiated with African Communities like ECOWAS. Many of these agreements are unfavorable to African countries as they do not give unfettered access to EU markets as they claim, but rather controlled access to protected internal EU markets.
Regional organizations like ECOWAS should take advantage of the current uncertainty to press for new agreements that are more favorable for African trade with the now reduced EU community. A further weakening of the EU with possible Exits by other countries in the EU is on the whole geoeconomically beneficial to Africa. It will void many of the so-called economic partnership agreements concluded by the 19 trillion EU behemoth and the much smaller African economic communities, agreements that stifle the ability of African countries to industrialize and develop internal markets, as these agreements do not allow adequate long term protection of infant industries which is essential to any long term industrial development plans.
Brexit is geopolitically good for Africa since a weaker and less monolithic Europe gives Africa more options in playing different sides to carve out more favorable trade and economic terms for herself. Therefore, the tears being shed by miseducated Africans mourning Brexit is surprising and downright pathetic. Whichever nation exits the EU is geopolitically and economically advantageous for Africa.