BREXIT: Will the Liberal International Order of Europe Collapse?

Since the demise of the Cold War, liberal world order was expected to reign in the world order system. Liberal states had gained superiority over communism and most prevailing theory of back then, realism has got itself engaged in too much violence and security threat. As a result, it was expected that Liberalist principles will soon take over the lead in the international order sphere by promoting its cooperative values. However, this expectation did not take so long to turn into frustration. Not very long USA took, under the presidency of George W. Bush to break the hopes of liberal internationalism by taking an attempt to implement American authority in the liberal world order. Since that other waves for making the Liberal Internationalism vulnerable has been noticed such as increasing populism in liberalist countries and more recently the attempt of Britain for disintegrating itself from European Union which is believed to be the largest apparatus of liberal internationalism not only in the context of Europe but also globally.

This paper will be focused on analyzing how deep effect BREXIT is going to put on liberal internationalism. The paper will attempt to address the anxiety of liberal thinkers for collapsing the liberal world order and will also attempt to project whether the biggest example of today’s’ liberal world order, European Union is going to be endangered at all due to the BREXIT.


European Union: An extraordinary success case for Liberal Internationalism:

After the Second World War, from the rest of the world, Europe was more scattered and wet through the more disastrous situation as the whole scenario ignites from this continent. From far ago Europe is the center to control and contribute to mainly the economy and the other factors that eventually gave them the ultimate power and the autonomy to run the world basis on the economic and the structure. Due to all of the reason and the massacre did happen from this continent for the second time Europe was need to be reformed or it had to have an organization that can eventually help them to control overcoming the situation by collaborating with all the states emerged and the existed. Mainly the idea was to connect France and Germany as there was a new movement started which actually ends up with the foundation of the European Union itself in 1951.

European Union originated from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC) with its’ inner six member of Inner Six countries of Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, signed the Treaty of Rome in on March 25, 1957 requesting to the economic agreement. From economic agreement to market for goods, labor, services and capital across all member states, it gave all the facilities to its member states and the now on to the 60 years of European Union’s Running it has now broadened its branches even to the  trade to the outer world  to tourism to the next level of Counter Terrorism.

According to a study from 2014 it said there is around 14 Million EU Citizens are living in different countries of the EU member states maintain not a border but moving freely with in the 28 member states holding just one visa, even built a Schengen area, a zone of passport-free, borderless travel that covers over 400 million people in the European country states which makes the immigrants even more interested in trading, travelling and education to learn being from a different state makes the path and the situation lot more easier than any other zone, area or state can even imagine of. From six to twenty eight the journey of European union avoiding the wars and the conflicts in the other worlds makes their journey sometimes lot trouble but in the need their trading system, their consent to move freely and development eventually makes Europe as a continent a hub of lots of opportunities due to the one reason behind all of this is “European Union”.

There have been so many good deeds that EU launches and introduced that makes Europe and the European countries different than others. Apart from making the biggest and largest single-market as a whole, it also banishes the death penalty in 1983, the European Convention on Human Rights was updated with a new protocol and no other member even enter into European Union without abolishing the death penalty. Rightfully working for six long decades EU entitle with the most prestigious award Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 meeting the three criteria of fulfilling political stability, with stable institutions contributing with  democracy; economic, with a functioning market economy along with the members and legal, with the acceptance of EU law and practice with the territory of the members states.


The crisis of Liberal Internationalism in today’s world:

The USA has been always in the front line to implement democratic values in non-democratic countries. Such as they have waged war against Afghanistan and Iraq to usurp the autocratic leaders. However, these have created furthermore problems. For example, ISIS was created after the invasion by coalition forces led by the USA. So, we can say that the USA created an influence directly or indirectly in creating terrorism while making attempt to establish liberal order.

In opposite to liberal internationalism nowadays new wave of rising nationalism is noticed. This can be well explained by Trumps win an election. Trump has promised to take protectionist policies where national interest will be given higher priority other than global responsibilities. This sort of incidents is very much opposed to the concept of liberal internationalism.

Liberal Institutionalism is also hampered by the rise of people’s decision-making process. This can be well explained in the context of BREXIT where people voted for the segregation from EU. For maintaining regional order and upholding liberal values it was important for Britain to remain integrated into EU. However, people expressed their consent where majority wanted segregation to empower and strengthen their own national interest.

So it can be agreed that these aspects are serving as the crisis of Liberal Internationalism.


read more Why UK should leave EU: Brexit argument


Why did Britain exit EU?:

Liberal internationalism means cooperation, trade, democracy promotion burden sharing, mutual benefit etc. But suddenly UK people started to say that they will not pay for others problems as the UK, Germany, and France these governments were trying to help Greece and others with monetary help to come out of the crisis. And also, people said we will not accept migrants who were coming from Syria, Libya and from other the Middle East and African countries. So, Britain had to go for popular choice and hold the referendum.

The rule of EU is that all members’ country has to share every problem. Inside EU there are lots of problems. There is burden sharing problem, migration crisis, and debt crisis. These issues forced Britain to walk out from EU. The reasons behind BREXIT is given below.

Community Cost: All EU members need to pay an amount of cost for several purposes. This cost became a burden for Britain.

The Eurozone economic crisis: European Union debt crisis is a period while several European countries faced the economic problem and high government debt of some countries. In 2008 the collapse of Iceland banking system and it faced the economic problem. European Union sovereign debt started in 2009.   Greece, Spain, Ireland, and Portugal were unable to repay their load and that created economic problem. That time European central bank and IMF helped those countries. Though the other’s country somehow solved their problem Greece was unable to solve their economic crises. By 2010 Greece received several bailouts from EU and IMF.

As EU failed to address its economic problem that was starting from 2008 it faced unemployed problem around 20% in southern Europe, on the other hand, German who enjoy 4.2 % unemployment. Europe as a whole has stagnated economy.[3]

The rise of the unemployment problem and the economic crisis can affect Britain, it will create the economic problem of Britain.


Migration crisis:

In the begging of 2015, Europe faced the biggest migration problem The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that more than 1,011,700 migrants arrived by sea in 2015, and almost 34,900 by land.  In 2015, EU countries offered asylum to 292,540 refugees. In the same year, more than a million migrants applied for asylum. Asylum application approved by Germany 140,910 and UK 13,905. In the same year, more than millions migrant applied for asylum seeking. [4]

In the year of 2015 Prime minister also said David Cameron said that the UK will accept up to 20,000 Syrian refuges next five years.  As all members of EU decided to share migrants. The migrants sharing created internal problems. There are terrorism problem and easy movement of people through Schengen visa. As Brittan was bound to bear unwanted migrant, it’s also a reason of BREXIT.



The rise of nationalism is another cause for BREXIT. There is rising distrust of liberal distrust of multilateral trade and defense system those like EU, IMF, and NATO, which was mainly created after the Second World War. In these systems, some get more benefit some are getting less benefit. Those who are in support of BREXIT they believe that Britain is getting less benefit staying in EU. These are the core problem which forced Britain to leave EU. Citizen of Britain gave their supports to leave EU.


The rise of illiberal forces in whole Europe:

On the core values that Europeans Union relies on our democracy, freedom of speech, civil rights which are on the great threat. Mostly in the western European countries and those are emerged after the cold war era. An organization emerged relied on the Economic and the restructure coal and steel industries currently they are struggling to control and the situation to overdue the particular problems single-handedly. The collective security often struggles to contribute the most to the countries who are in the situation like that its people also believing to their governments as they are slowly losing they’re the core values and the rights to consult.

From latest in Poland, one of their Best singers has been banned from national events as his criticisms against the governments. There are also some other things that even tried to cop up with the ideas and the formulations that the countries are making money but securing the other political rights of their citizen. Portugal’s President said that illiberal role is the very interesting topic. European also the Italian he dam where his and completing the main phenomena like the China, Russia,

The whole Europe as it stands for the Human Rights and the European Convent on the Human rights contributing. Maintaining the other newly born countries and the     EU members , the cold war mainly much affect as the ex-communist countries re relying on the best out come from its governments but the crowd also making the thing worse as they might help you to control and the contributing sanctions will might work on the struggling country’s whom are fighting for the cause which might have the  authority o reform the system that eventually shapes the new rule of the European countries as off after the BREXIT this problem will also keep strong and the authoritarian governments will have to be controlled by imposing the other sides and the liberal perspective to fight against the countries of the European Union.


 Will EU disintegrate?

The European Union faces numerous challenges but does not have the capability to solve its all the problem. Recently which we see that economic crisis of the several countries of EU. Greece has badly faced economic crisis it has not yet recover its economic crisis. The unemployment problem is becoming the major problem in some countries of EU, there more than 20% of unemployed people in the southern part of Europe. Europe is plague is the migrant crisis. For these reasons Britain exit from EU. Exit from the EU is not the only solution to solve Britain’s internal problem.

The British and the EU are negotiating on the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU but the negotiations do not go well. The uncertainty that this creates pressures investment in both the British and the EU which will eventually impact on the overall British and EU economic policy.[5]

Although BREXIT is a challenge for EU’s integration still the UK will face many problems as it went out of BREXIT. And it takes two years to go out of EU by any country after the declaration. So finally, in 2019 they will exit. On these two years since March 2017 to March 219 they will try to settle the much-anticipated Agreement with EU on what will be the way of dealing in trade and politics with EU and individual countries of Europe. Still, they are finding it difficult to settle. Because Germany France is showing rigidness and strictness as they don’t want to benefit the UK much. If they do then other countries will be encouraged to exit in future. So, seeing UK example we cannot really say that due to BREXITEU will di The British and the EU are negotiating on the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU. The negotiations do not go well. The uncertainty that this creates pressures investment in both the UK and the Eurozone and there is a danger that unemployment will rise again in many countries integrate more in near future. Because countries are getting the benefit as part of this 3rd largest economic giant of the world – the EU. And more and more countries from Eastern Europe are joining this bloc.


Key Arguments:

The establishment of European Union might be called as the golden age of liberalism. The European Union was designed to improve economic and political integration among the European states. In the 21st century, EU becomes a great example of Liberal Internationalism which is mainly focused on the expansion of European values. Liberal internationalism as an EU foreign policy is the idea of democracy, market economy, rule of law and human rights but most importantly it is the idea of economic interdependence for greater economic growth. The liberal internationalism is threatened by the recent event in Europe and also worldwide such as BREXIT or the rise of populism in Europe.

The rise of populism worldwide is a challenge liberal internationalism is facing today.  The populist movement now becomes a common feature in European states. The rise of populism fragmented the party system throughout Europe. The BREXIT issue, Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands, Alternative for Germany (AFD) in Germany, Le Pen’s Front National in France, ANO party in the Czech Republic all these are the example of the populist surge in Europe. It is believed that the rise of populism is mainly against the economic policies but it now draws its strength on other social issues.

The BREXIT is the big example of rising of populism and it is seen as the end of liberal internationalism. With the BREXIT referendum, England now withdraws itself from EU and wants to go to its traditional internationalist direction. Although England withdraws itself from EU, the leader of the BREXIT is also wanted to remain in the European single market. The victory of Emmanuel Macron over National Front in French election and Angela Markel’s coalition in Germany can be seen as the populist wave is decreasing.

So, definitely due to many factors liberal internationalism is facing challenges in today’s world and BREXIT is a major challenge for European liberal order. In case of politics promotion of democracy has certainly backfired and led to anti-liberal sentiment worldwide especially in countries who are a victim. But still, in case of economics and trade people prefer to be part of the liberal order. And also Angela Markel and Macron, the leaders who are the main key to the leadership of EU are trying their best to hold the unity of EU. So, in future, the promoters and practitioners of liberal internationalism have to be more aware as there is the rise of potential forces which can break such order.


read more Europe’s national security dilemmas: Who is crossing the line?



The Brexit and the EU relation though hampered due to the overall result and this will cost both to the party and the Liberal perspective that the two organization and the state that belongs for such long as UK is one of the biggest participants of the EU. As EU has to run without the big player of Europe and that will hamper the economic structure of UK and EU with the policies that need to be redefined from the core as it has to be made with new policies for both the parties. The regulations, lawsuits and the free movement also to be made with lot changes and the economic deals which were dealt swiftly throughout the decades will have to go with new policies in the coming year and new bindings may come up with a lot more to see in the coming year.


Muhammad Yeasin

Muhammad Mustahsin Adnan

Md. Tariqul Hasan Rifat

Nafiya Binte Goni

Emtiaz Ahmed

students, International Relations, Bangladesh University of Professionals


[1]Tony Blair, ‘The Blair Doctrine‘, speech delivered in Chicago, 22 April 1999,

[2]Daniel Deudney and G. John Ikenberry, Democratic internationalism: an American grand strategy for a post- exceptionalist era(New York: Council on Foreign Relations, Nov. 2012), p. 6

[3] Staff, Investopedia. 2016. “European Sovereign Debt Crisis”. Investopedia.

[Accessed 6 May 2018].

[4] 5. “EU Migration: Crisis In Seven Charts”. 2018. BBC News.

[Accessed 6 May 2018]

[5]Boonstra, W. (2017). Four scenarios for Europe – scenario 3: European ‘disintegration’. [online] RaboResearch – Economic Research. Available at: [Accessed 6  May 2018].

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