EU on brink: Calls to ‘follow Brexit’s lead’ in THREE member states exposed

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The UK is set to leave the EU at the end of the year. A period of four years has elapsed since the landmark result was announced.

Negotiations between the UK and EU are under way, too, as both parties attempt to strike a deal that would see either side trading with one another on rules similar to those currently in place.

However, neither side is entirely happy with certain propositions from the other.

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, claimed a trade deal with the EU based on the UK’s “very reasonable” demands is still possible.

He said he “very much” hoped a no deal outcome could be avoided if the two sides could work together.

This came after the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, accused the UK of “backtracking” on its commitments.

Mr Barnier said there are four main areas where differences in opinion remain: fisheries, competition rules, governance and police cooperation.

Without a new deal by January 1, 2021, the two sides will default to World Trade Organisation trading terms.

Despite the disagreement, the UK has ploughed ahead with striking trade deals elsewhere in the world.

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Japan and the UK began talks yesterday as the two work towards replacing the agreement Britain currently has with Japan through the European Union.

The Brexit vote, announced in 2016, came as a shock to many in the UK and Europe.

David Cameron, then Prime Minister, called the vote as part of a campaign to ensure he retained the keys to Downing Street in the 2015 general election – he succeeded.

He didn’t, however, envisage Leave ever winning, campaigning to remain a part of the EU.

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[ANALYSIS] 

On his loss, the EU feared a number of “copycat” populist leaders around the bloc could attempt to emulate Mr Cameron and drive referendums in their countries onto the agenda.

Fears didn’t appear over-stretched, either, as voters in France, Italy and the Netherlands demanded their own votes on EU membership and the euro.

Italy which, at the time, was enduring a right-wing populist surge, was among those tipped to challenge the EU most fervently.

At the time, the anti-establishment Five Star movement declared it would demand a referendum on the euro.

The party’s leader, Beppe Grillo, went as far as to call for a full referendum on EU membership.

He said: “The mere fact that a country like Great Britain is holding a referendum on whether to leave the EU signals the failure of the European Union.”

Worryingly for the EU, Five Star won 19 out of 20 mayoral elections in June 2016 – just days after the Brexit result.

Meanwhile, in France, right-wing groups garnered similar momentum.

Marine Le Pen’s Front National demanded France revise its place in the EU.

She said: “I would vote for Brexit, even if I think that France has a thousand more reasons to leave than the UK.”

She has since softened her stance on the issue and instead plans to reform the EU from the inside.

Most surprisingly, the Netherlands, whose position within the bloc was largely considered safe, appeared to turn against the EU after Brexit.

Polling there in 2016, according to The Daily Telegraph, revealed how the majority of voters wanted a referendum on membership.

Further restlessness with the EU spread across the continent, as demonstrated in a 2016 Barclays poll.

Here, EU big hitters too wanted referendums on membership.

Among them, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Hungary.

The turning tide proved that Mr Cameron, albeit unintentional, had inspired a swathe of alternative political figures across the continent to question their place within the EU.

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