Brexit: Why Do Some Want Out of EU?
U.K. voters aren't alone in reconsidering their relationship status with the European Union.
Voters in the United Kingdom this week will decide whether they want to remain in the European Union, a historic referendum colluquially known as the Brexit that threatens to shake up the quarter-century long EU experiment.
"No one can foresee what the long-term consequences would be," Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, recently told the German tabloid Bild. "As a historian, I fear that Brexit could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the E.U., but also of Western political civilization."
But the United Kingdom isn't the only country that has flirted with the idea of dissolving its status with the European Union. Last summer, an impasse between Greece and the European Union over the Mediterranean country's debt crisis threaten to push Greece out of the euro and possibly E.U. itself.
WATCH: Will The UK Brexit Vote Disrupt The EU?
In fact, according to an intracontinental poll taken in the spring, nearly half of voters in eight large European Union countries want an opportunity to vote whether to remain in the bloc, Reuters reported last month.
Of the more than 6,000 surveyed in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden, 48 percent expressed a desire for a vote, and a third would choose to exit the E.U. if given the chance. Of the countries surveyed, Italy had the highest percent of "out" votes with 48 percent of respondents indicating an inclination to leave. Poland had the lowest with 22 percent.
The Ipsos-MORI poll wasn't exactly an outlier. In March, the University of Edinburgh released a poll in which 8,000 voters in Germany, France, Poland, Ireland, Spain and Sweden were asked about holding their own referendum on the E.U., and in France, one of the central pillars of the union, 53 percent of participants wanted a vote. Similarly in February, a Dutch poll showed that more than half of participants in the Netherlands backed an in/out vote.
So why are so many people in so many countries pushing for a way out of the historic political and economic collaboration that is the European Union?
One of the main arguments of the "Out" movement both in the Brexit vote and across European is that the members states are moving inevitably toward a deeper political union. Such a future would diminish the influence of sovereign governments. E.U. policy already touches on everything from immigration to labor to trade and more. There's even a movement to create an E.U. army.
The extraordinary efforts undertaken by E.U. governing bodies over the last half decade or so to deal with various crises, be it the financial crisis, the sovereign debt crisis or the refugee crisis, have to led the widespread belief of a democratic deficit among member states. This lack of control has led to the rise of populist movements throughout the continent who view the E.U. as a government of the elite or privileged member states.
Withdrawal from the EU is allowed through Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union, which states simply, "Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements." To date, no member state has exercised that right to leave the union.