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Britain and Europe at a CrossroadsThe Politics of Anxiety and Transformation$
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Andrew Ryder

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781529200515

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529200515.001.0001

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Brexit: Views from Europe

Brexit: Views from Europe

Chapter:
(p.129) 6 Brexit: Views from Europe
Source:
Britain and Europe at a Crossroads
Author(s):

Andrew Ryder

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781529200515.003.0007

This chapter describes the views of European policy actors, where Brexiteers’ notions of reclaiming national power and self-interest were often pitted against and contrasted with the ethical and idealistic sentiments of those who wanted to preserve the European project and or those committed to the maintenance of a technocratic status quo. These debates and discussions took place within and were shaped by a profound paradigm shift provoked by an economic and cultural crisis in which competing philosophies were set against each other. Cosmopolitanism versus nationalism presented one clash of paradigms – a discourse in which international cooperation, integration and cultural diversity are juxtaposed against narrow national self-interests and monocultural and reactive forms of identity, creating frames (interpretations and perspectives) that can mobilise and galvanise populations and political elites. Alongside identity discourse there was a socio-economic cleavage which revolved around the tensions between neoliberalism and conceptions of the state centred on statism and welfare where social justice rather than profit was the central governing force. Both discourses were accentuated and inflamed by the financial crisis of 2008 and a populist backlash against globalisation, with some propounding a theory of ‘European disintegration’ leading to the unravelling of the democratic capitalist compact within which European integration has been so firmly entwined through the European project. The chapter gives some insight into how the EU sought to protect the integrity of the single market and customs union and perceived Brexit as a direct challenge to the European social model

Keywords:   Cosmopolitanism, The European Project, Customs Union, Single Market, European Social Model

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