Saturday, June 25, 2016

Thoughts on #Brexit...& #Grexit

To all the IR students out there: if you are missing the point on #Brexit and #Grexit(July 2015), then you probably have yet to connect the dots on what regional integration is.

For those interested in the impact on the African Union, pls hold your breath. It will not collapse it. Neither will it collapse countries like Nigeria who are going through a bad economic patch.

Both #Grexit & #Brexit offer opportunities to reflect seriously on the qualitative nature of regional integration dynamics, and its relatability to ordinary people.

The shocking news (apocryphal or not) of Brits googling about the...EUROPEAN UNION after the deed is done is frightening, even chilling, to the bone to think that a model of global integration worldwide was that UNKNOWN to citizens.

As human beings, we falter and get complacent when institutions appear to be working almost automatically by default. Some may not have known how paid leave and whatnot for European citizens were a product of EU law; how free movement remains the most fundamental of freedoms in an integration project and how a Brexit would deny UK citizens of those easy freedoms. Double visas must be a nightmare for any non-European contemplating travelling to the UK and EU.

Gone! like the wind...

Simply put: the impacts on Africa's integration will be minimal. In fact, there will be new vistas...that may seek to elevate the UK into a new world order that was emerging -- one predicated on regional poles.

Some of us saw the light on regional poles a decade ago. It was Belgian European Parliamentarian Guy Verhofstadt who, at a Seminar on Globalization in Brussels in 2001, also talked about regional representation at the UN Security Council (the AU;Asean, etc would be represented at the table in New York).

I would hope the new dynamics will spawn regular and edifying conversations on the power of regional integration to uplift people from poverty, sustain fundamental freedoms, and build bridges towards a more peaceful world.

The inevitability of integration as a conduit to a more peaceful world must be one we must begin to discuss with the urgency it requires!

My two cents!

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