The Brexit shock, but no effect in Nepal
Saturday 2nd of July
Narayan Prasad Ghimire, KATHMANDU: A shock wave ran across the globe as Britain voted last week to exit from the European Union, the regional association to which the country was tied for four decades. Any country with small or large economy, or a tiny nation to the super power, the British severance from the EU did throw issues of various interests on them.
As the fifth largest economy at present and a country once with the biggest imperial presence, Britain wish to remain aloof from the regional organization, has been cautioned by many of an uncertain British future- on economy and domestic and foreign affairs- arguing that the British did a mistake to in fact lose by adopting Brexit.
Going through various international media, multifarious issues as whether the collective welfare has been an obsolete concept with the individual welfare getting more pronounced; immigration becoming a big burden; British sovereignty undermined by the EU bureaucracy; class division deepening in Britain; Britain could focus on its economy with the amount it contributes to the EU annually; EU rules and regulations being burdensome to Britain and who lost- EU or Britain with the Brexit; who will be leading the EU after Britain's departure or German would dominate the scene hereafter; how would be relations with the US; whether other EU members and other regional organizations follow the British way are being debated since the argument for and against the Brexit began.
The anti-immigration campaigner as Nigel Farage, leader of UK independence party, is reported to have argued that the floods of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe have depressed the wages of native-born British workers.
Similarly, other EU members have been learnt of warning Britain of not discouraging the movement of EU immigrants. Every EU citizen should have the rights to enjoy equal status, they add.
In a recent write-up, former Nepal's Permanent Representative to the UN, Shambhu Ram Simkhada, observes, "Many reports suggest that the biggest loser from 'Brexit' would be Britain itself." He also cites the Chatham House report as- "If the UK votes to leave the EU, then 2016 becomes year zero for the UK's relationship with its neighbours in Europe."
Of course, Nepal, though a tiny economy depending hugely on neighbours, is floundering on the political transition and is far away in geography and does not have that much pressing affairs with the Britain, the aware and intellect Nepalis can't remain untouched from this international shift. Needless to say, Nepal and Britain are very long intimate friends, and Britain is one of the largest donors to Nepal's development endeavours.
With this in the background, it may be relevant to garner views from the experts whether Nepal would be affected by the British severance from the EU, which many regard as the ideal example of regional integration.
Responding to a query in this connection, former Foreign Minister Dr Prakash Chandra Lohani says, "I don't think Nepal would face any immediate effect from Brexit. Even other regional organizations may not be affected with this as they have different economic and political ambitions from that of EU."
Similar is the view of former Foreign Secretary Madhuraman Acharya. He argues that Nepal and Britain have been enjoying diplomatic relations for long- long before Britain joined EU. The bilateral relations and Britain's assistance would not be affected at all, he added.
However, both of them cautioned that if Britain fails to keep intact its existing economic status, the donation to Nepal may shrink.
On whether Britain could be able to maintain its status- economic and internal and foreign affairs- strong after cutting ties with the regional association, Dr Lohani said, "Britain might have realized the importance of vote on the one hand and of the balanced relations with the EU on the other. Quitting EU membership does not mean that it can run all alone. It can consolidate the neighbourhood ties and improve domestic politics, especially the Scotland issues, he observed, hailing the role of British Prime Minister David Cameron's as of statesman- he truly implemented what he had committed before the people and is stepping down after accomplishment though he failed in his favour- the remain campaign.
According to him, Britain needs consolidation with the EU in a less burdensome way; and it walks out in such a way that won't let down EU economy.
Conclusively, ending EU membership itself does not seem immediate solution to Britain. Its days ahead are obviously challenging as the experts argue. The coming leadership needs maturity in dealing with the pertinent challenges as maintaining domestic politics in balance with smooth economy and fair relations with EU. Coming are the days to clear uncertainty.