Brexit to Have Only Negative Consequences – Former Bulgarian PM
Commenting the outcome of last week's referendum on the UK's membership to the EU in which 51.9% of British voters supported Brexit, former Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski said that nothing positive has come out from the decision to leave the EU.
On the contrary, Brexit is to lead to only negative consequences for Bulgaria, the UK and the EU as a whole.
In an interview for private bTV station on Tuesday, Oresharski said that Brexit would not have significant direct effect on Bulgaria in terms of trade as the commercial exchange with the UK is not so significant.
However since there are many Bulgarians working in the UK as well as many British citizens visiting or living in Bulgaria, inevitably there would be consequences.
The former prime minister added that the people in the UK, including Bulgarians, were already experiencing one of the effects of Brexit, namely the devaluation of the pound.
Oresharski pointed that many things were still unclear and it was too early to say whether the UK would actually leave the EU. Furthermore, it is unknown what conditions will be negotiated in case the UK does leave.
The conditions under which Bulgarians will continue to work in the UK are also unclear, but most likely these would not be as favourable as the ones offered in the member states.
According to him, the outlook was for the EU to face problem with its budget as the UK is the fourth largest contributor.
Oresharski is afraid that this would necessitate the introduction of restrictions to the EU budget. Another less realistic alternative is to increase the contributions paid by the remaining member states, but this would would lead to a new wave of Euroscepticism.
The realistic development for Bulgaria is to receive less funding as a result. The other possible development is to increase the Bulgarian contribution. In both cases, there would be negative consequences.
Another worrying effect comes from the fact that the Bulgarian economy has become heavily dependent on EU funds, which means that any decrease in funding would have negative consequences.
The former prime minister reiterated that Bulgaria is at the beginning of debt crisis. Although Bulgarian debt has remained relatively low compared to other member states, in short time it increased from 14 % to 29 % of GDP.
Brexit would have no direct threat to Bulgarian banks, but would lead to shifting of layers and London will lose its status as financial centre.
In his words, Bulgaria should take the necessary measures to protect the interests of its workers, students and investments in the UK.
Oresharski does not expect all Bulgarians currently in the UK to come back, especially the highly skilled ones. According to him, many of them will likely seek employment in other European countries.
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