‘When the UK leaves the EU in March 2019, the political ballgame in Brussels will change profoundly. We don’t yet know exactly what the consequences will be for the different countries and for the EU as such. For instance: Will it lead to more unity, more fragmentation, or something in between? Research professor Pernille Rieker said when introducing Caroline de Gruyter at the seminar Europe after Brexit on 19 April.

Listen to de Gruyter’s talk as NUPI podcast:

Brexit changes the EU

De Gruyter has extensive experience as a European correspondent. She is a regular contributor to Carnegie Europe and has written four books.

‘Europe after Brexit will be a completely different beast from the beasts that we all know now,’ de Gruyter said when addressing the audience at NUPI.

According to her, we can expect to see more cohesion in the EU, and new alliances across the continent. Most of the governments in the EU will have to step out of their comfort zones and find new ways to negotiate and form groups within the union.

‘I think that Brexit in one sense is a good thing for the EU, because she was stuck before,’ de Gruyter said.

More positive towards the EU

While headlines and politicians are concerned with euroskepticism, de Gruyter also see signs of EU citizens pulling in the opposite direction.

‘All over Europe, we see a young generation who organizes political parties, platforms, discussion groups and online magazines, and people who used to sit on their hands and watch the news in their living room are now waving EU flags out in the streets. They may not change the course of Europe, but the fact that they are out in the streets making themselves heard may still change something,’ she said, adding:

‘The Euro barometer is going up. People may not be happy with the EU, but they are happy in the EU.’

To watch other seminars in our series 'Norway meets Europe', check out the seminar series' web page. Learn more about NUPI's research on EU and Europe, and on the web page of NUPI European Studies Forum.