Belgium’s Brexit Blues

The U.K. isn’t the only country with potential secession issues.

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As the December 2020 deadline for a negotiated trade deal approaches and the European Union and the United Kingdom fail to get on the same page, a hard Brexit looks more and more likely. In a no-deal scenario, British-EU trade would default to World Trade Organization rules that would damage both economies by raising tariffs, delaying international deliveries and so on. The EU is expected to fare better than the U.K. Forecasts show that British gross domestic product will drop by about 5 percent over 10 years, while the EU’s GDP will fall by a little less than 1 percent. Yet, some EU members will be worse off than others, none more so than the EU’s host country, Belgium. With some 8 percent of its GDP relying on trade with the U.K., Belgium is uniquely exposed to Brexit’s economic shockwaves. Naturally, there will be domestic political consequences to the coming economic pain. The hit to exports will unevenly affect Belgian regions, hitting the country’s northern commercial hub, Flanders, the hardest, aggravating a political rivalry shaded by separatist sentiment that has plagued Belgium for its entire modern history. Disparities Belgium’s Dutch-speaking Flemish and its French-speaking Walloons have been at loggerheads for […]

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Caroline D. Rose
Caroline Rose has a Masters of Science (MSc) in the History of International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Just before joining GPF she served as a Research Associate for LSE’s International Drug Policy Unit (IDPU), where she researched the nexus between illicit economies and armed insurgencies. She earned her undergraduate degree from American University's School of International Service and has worked previously at both Brookings Institute and the Atlantic Council. Her studies and projects at these institutions covered a range of topics, from Russian and Chinese cyber warfare, evolving American interest within a changing international order, and grand security strategies against state-led revisionism in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific. Throughout she's written for a diverse array of publications including Limes in Italy.