According to Minister of State for EU Affairs Szabolcs Takács from the Prime Minister’s Office, the fact that the majority of the British people voted to exit the European Union at the referendum held last June is not a cause of the European Union’s problems, but a direct consequence of those problems.

On Thursday evening, Mr. Takács and officials for EU affairs from the other Visegrád Group (V4) countries attended a forum in London at the Royal Institute for International Affairs, better known as Chatham House. The topic of the meeting was how the Hungarian, Slovakian, Czech and Polish governments regard the process leading up to the termination of Britain’s EU membership, and European prospects following Brexit.

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During the discussions, which continued until late evening, Mr. Takács explained: “We cannot ignore the fact that it was the European Union’s problems that led to the result of the British referendum”, adding that “The countries that remain in the EU will need to be given sufficient time to analyse the causes that led to the majority of the British electorate to vote for Brexit”.

According to the Minister of State, in addition to economic effects, the exit of Great Britain will also have a strong political effect with regard to European integration. The balance of power within the EU’s institutions will shift in favour of the largest remaining member states, he explained. “Following Brexit, Germany, France and Italy will represent almost half of the EU’s total population, but if a few smaller member states such as Malta or Belgium join Germany and France on certain votes then they will be able to prevent any attempt to introduce new legislation put forward by the EU”, Mr. Takács said.

The balance between countries that are members of the eurozone and countries that aren’t will also shift in favour of the former, as a result of which the latter will be unable to form a “blocking minority”, he added.

According to Mr. Takács, Britain’s exit also means the loss of a natural ally for the V4 region with regard to political issues that have always been extremely important to the four countries of the Group, such as reinforcing the role of member state Parliaments within the EU and in European decision-making.

The Minister of State for EU Affairs declared: “The role and voice of member state parliaments is ignored much too often with relation to important issues, and this is also one of the reasons for an increasing lack of faith in EU institutions on the part of EU citizens”.

“In addition, the V4 have always succeeded in maintaining a good level of cooperation with Great Britain within the fields of national sovereignty, deregulation and reducing bureaucracy”, Mr. Takács highlighted at the forum in London on Thursday evening.