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Brexit could spark a fundamental restructure of EU, claims MEP
BREXIT, Britain’s leaving the European Union, could spark a fundamental restructuring of the bloc, according to an MEP.
Daniel Hannan, Conservative MEP and Brexiteer, has said that the UK’s exit from the EU could tempt other Eurosceptic countries such as Italy and Poland to break away from close political integration and form an “outer tier” with nearby countries such as Morocco, Israel, Ukraine and Iceland.
The loosely-linked alliance would avoid being closely knit but unite over certain issues such as trade, defence and political co-operation, Mr Hannan, the MEP for the south east of England, wrote in The Daily Telegraph.
He said the plan should be attractive to the Brussels leaders calling for greater integration following Donald Trump's warnings over Nato and the European project, as it gives refuseniks a chance to leave on friendly terms.
Mr Hannan wrote: ”We don't want the EU to collapse on our doorstep: quite apart from the fact that the countries involved are our friends, a disorderly downfall would hurt our economy.
"We know that excessive rigidity risks such a collapse.
"So let's use Brexit to set a precedent, creating an outer tier linked to the EU by free trade, military alliance and intergovernmental co-operation.
"Perhaps one or two other existing EU states might transition into that outer tier.
"Isn't it in everyone's interests for them to be able to do so with minimum disruption, leaving the federalists free to complete their vision?"
Mr Hannan added that Britain should now act like a "flying buttress" by supporting the EU from outside its political structures while retaining access to the single market, with the model offered to others.
"Such a status that could then be extended to any other nearby state - not just Iceland and Switzerland but, in time, Morocco, Israel, Ukraine and, more pertinently, other EU countries that wanted to swap full membership for something looser."
Mr Hannan noted Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, has recently proposed that members hand more powers to Brussels, particularly on financial and military matters.
Meanwhile the US president "thinks the best thing is for the EU to fall apart" and needed persuading to commit to Nato by Theresa May, he said.
Mr Tusk's vision, paired with EU leaders' unwillingness to relinquish powers once they have acquired them, meant an alternative form of membership is needed for some states, Mr Hannan added.
Mr Hannan also indicated that the EU was to blame for pushing out of the bloc due to the “doctrine of the occupied field”.
He wrote: “The EU refused to allow Britain to recover any jurisdiction. Had David Cameron been able to retrieve one power - just one - he might plausibly have argued that a precedent had been set.
“But the EU preferred to lose its second largest financial contributor than to abandon the ‘doctrine of the occupied field’, which holds that Brussels must never relinquish control of any area in which it once legislated.”