How will Brexit affect the delicate balance of power in the EU? Ulrich Krotz and Joachim Schild argue that it will boost Franco-German power – but this will not go unchallenged by other EU members, especially the Visegrád bloc and the newly assertive Hanseatic League.
The effects of Brexit will be felt beyond the United Kingdom. The unprecedented exit of a key member state will have a strong and lasting impact upon the European Union, changing the internal distribution of power and influence among the remaining member states. Brexit is likely to push Germany and France back to the EU’s centre stage, and provide the two powers with the opportunity to play a pivotal role in the EU27. But a common bid for a renewed Franco-German leadership will not go unchallenged.
Specifically, Brexit will alter the actor constellations and preference configuration around the Brussels negotiating table. These changes affect the strategic options and potential coalition patterns among the member states – including the likelihood that French or German preferences will prevail in various EU policy fields – as well as the options for joint Franco-German initiatives and policy brokerage.