Is Brexit Contagious?

The Short Answer Is Yes

30 November 2020

Just when Michael Gove’s theory of Brexit contagion appears to be sweeping Europe, across the Channel it has been shelved. The British are focusing on getting Brexit done so they can start cooperating with Germany again. But the idea of Brexit continues to grip politicians and influence policy everywhere in Europe.

In 2016 Michael Gove, Conservative government minister and co-head of Vote Leave, predicted that the Brexit result would be contagious.

Gove (Boris Johnson’s partner in crime) forecast a wave of democratic rebellion across Western Europe – not necessarily resulting in other members leaving the EU, but certainly heralding a revolt against Europe’s elites.

Gove is currently in charge of preparing the UK for Brexit, and in that role has probably done more than anyone to undermine his own prediction: in his hands, Brexit seems more likely to destroy the UK than the EU. 

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Roderick Parkes

Dr Roderick Parkes heads the Europe programme at the German Council of Foreign Relations (DGAP) in Berlin. A British national, he has worked in government-affiliated think tanks across Europe, most recently the EU Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) in Paris.

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