The Brexit is just around the corner and it seems to me that arguments from forest experts against Brexit have no much support in reality. I would say even more, what looks good to me – looks bad to experts and vice versa. Let’s look at the different sides of this story.
Recently, I have found an article of G. Winkel and J. Derks from the European Forest Institute who discussed possible consequences of Brexit on European forest and environmental policy1.
Concerning diplomacy in foreign forest policy, researchers got to the point that EU will lose excellent diplomatic skills of native English speakers from UK after the Brexit.
For whom this situation is bad? It is only bad for the EU, but it seems good for the UK as they can use their diplomacy for their own strategic advantages without sharing it with the EU. One of the experts pointed that recently, politicians from UK were rather skeptical about delegating negotiations competencies to the European Commission and they would rather like to have their own representation in a global policy-making. I think that this distrust has to be driven by some facts and past events.
Will Brexit diminish UK’s role on fighting against illegal logging?
Experts argued that UK is importing now a substantial amount of wood and therefore it is particularly interested in supporting all kind of EU Timber Regulations. Experts predict that Brexit could decrease UK’s involvement in fighting against illegal logging in the international community.
For me this argument is a bit vague, as UK can fight illegal logging by its own if it is in its main interest. Even, I believe UK can achieve better results than specialists from Brussel, who are good at producing tons of nice reports so far.
According to one of the experts, after the Brexit, the EU will suffer from a lack of constructive critique that was flowing from the UK’s politicians.
One thing came to my mind here. If a country that was critical to many ridiculous ideas of the EU politicians is going to leave, then who is going to remain? So far, there was some kind of counter-balance to politicians with communistic ideas who transferred the European Union in recent years to the Soviet Union of European States. If you watched Nigel Farage on YouTube who often points strange ideas flowing from the European Parliament, you know what I mean. Or maybe you should read this quote if you are surprised:
“The most puzzling development in politics during the last decade is the apparent determination of Western European leaders to re-create the Soviet Union in Western Europe.”
― Mikhail Gorbachev
Brexit leads to even more regulations in the EU
It did not surprise me either when I read that without UK, the EU countries can expect even more regulations, as there will not be a counter-balance to the countries like Germany, who love regulations.
After Brexit, some developing countries will start to develop even faster.
One of the experts highlighted that UK has strong influence on environmental policy, as their government agencies are the biggest in Europe. He claimed that without UK, some countries like Poland or other Visegrad countries will push harder for the economic development first and the environmental policy will go on the second place.
Honestly, this looks very dangerous to me, as it means that through environmental policies, the development of some countries is under control by developed countries. I argue that every country has to go through all steps of development, i.e. from agriculture, through industry to the services. There is no way to skip this order, and in fact there are already a lot of studies confirming that there is some order of development, which is highly correlated with the increasing concern and responsibility about nature and environment. Therefore, there is no other way round to increase the concern of people about nature, unless to give them to develop first.
Common Forest Policy in the EU?
One expert argued that because the forest sector in the UK is not so significant, the UK was always in the opposition to the idea of creating a common forest policy in the EU. In this context, it was claimed that after the Brexit it will be easier to create the common forest policy in the EU.
Thanks God we do not have any common forest policy in Europe and I hope we will never have. Why? Because it simply does not make sense to have it. How you can have a common policy if forests and forestry systems in every member country are completely different? Trying to establish a common policy can result only in putting some countries in advantage to others by the use of different lobbyist groups.
Personally, I support Brexit, as I think that British people can manage better their own cases without bureaucrats from the EU what will give them full independence and I think that here is main goal of the Brexit. My biggest concern with Brexit is that I am a bit afraid of politicians who will remain after UK will leave the EU.
Some people predict that Brexit can be a beginning of the end of the European Union. I agree with this, as UK may show other countries the way out.
Will Brexit and collapse of the EU change something to the forests?
I do not think so, as 25 years ago nobody was predicting the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Soviet Union dissolved and after its dissolution, there was a business as usual.
Therefore, there is a life outside the union and in my point of view forest sector will be the least affected by all types of “-exits”, under one circumstance, i.e. countries will be willing to cooperate on the basis of partnerships and free trade agreements.