The impact of Brexit on the European Union’s future development in the context of European integration

Anna Moskal



The future of the European Union is a topic which frequently generates multiple heated debates amongst politicians, lawyers and political scientists. This issue is even more burning and contentious after the Brexit referendum, which is a turning point in the history of European integration. As an answer to the first withdrawal of a member state from the European Union the European Commission published the “White Paper on the future of Europe. Reflections and scenarios for the EU27 by 2025” which immediately came under fire from critics. In this publication five possible scenarios for the future development of the European Union were presented with a view to “launch a process in which Europe determines its own path”. In September 2017 the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, in his “State of the Union Address 2017” outlined his own unique and alternative sixth scenario for Europe’s future, which concentrates principally on freedom, equality and the rule of law. The main aim of this article is to compile and provide an analysis of the effect of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal on the European Union’s future development in the context of European integration. This paper consists of five parts which include the history of European integration, an analysis of the Brexit referendum and its impact, as well as a presentation of the 6 possible future development scenarios. The research methodology of this study combines both qualitative and quantitative methods.


Brexit; European Union; withdrawal; European future; development scenarios

Full Text:



Barburska, O. (2017). Jaka UE w jakim świecie? Wpływ czynników międzynarodowych na obecny i przyszły stan Unii Europejskiej. Studia Europejskie, 4(84), 9-33.

BBC. (2016a). Brexit: David Cameron to quit after UK votes to leave EU. Retrieved from

BBC. (2016b). Brexit: World reaction as UK votes to leave EU. Retrieved from https://www.

BBC. (2016c). EU Referendum Results. Retrieved from eu_referendum/results

BBC. (2017). Brexit: MPs overwhelmingly back Article 50 bill. Retrieved from https://www.

Begg, I. (2017). The Commission’s White Paper on the Future of Europe – a case of what might have been… Evidence-based analysis and commentary on European politics. The London School of Economics and Political Science. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http:// -europe-a-case-of-what-might-have-been/#Author

Brokowski, P. (2018). Unia Europejska: kryzys opowieści, kryzysowa opowieść. Sprawy Międzynarodowe, (71/2), 85-105.

Cameron, D. (2013). Prime Minister David Cameron discussed the future of the European Union at Bloomberg. Retrieved from -speech-at-bloomberg

Clarke, H. D., Goodwin, M., & Whitley, P. (2017). Why Britain Voted for Brexit: An Individual Level Analysis of the 2016 Referendum Vote. Parliamentary Affairs, 70/3. 439–464. doi:10.1093/pa/gsx005

de Santis, N. (2016). SCENARIOS 2016/2025 Four identity based scenarios looking into the potential futures of Europe and their impact on UK and the world. EU: Referendum Special Report. Retrieved from -and-Future-of-Europe-Scenarios-2025.pdf

Dinan, D. (2005). Ever closer union: an introduction to European integration. (4th Ed.) Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

European Commission. (2017). White Paper on the future of Europe. Reflections and scenarios for the EU27 by 2025. Brussels: European Commission. Retrieved from

European Union. (2018a). About the EU. Goals and values of the EU. Retrieved from https://

European Union. (2018b). About the EU. The economy. Retrieved from european-union/about-eu/figures/economy_en

Eurostat. (2018). Key figures on Europe 2017 edition. Retrieved from https://publications.

Gowland, D., & Turner, A. (2000). Reluctant Europeans: Britain and European integration 1945-1998. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Howorth, J., & Schimdt, V. (2016). Brexit: What Happened? What is Going to Happen? Politique Etrangère 4/2016, 123-138. Retrieved from php?ID_ARTICLE=E_PE_164_0123

Juncker, J-C. (2017). State of the Union Address 2017. Retrieved from press-release_SPEECH-17-3165_en.htm

Kirk, L. (2016). Wider Europe shares Cameron’s EU vision. EUobserver. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

McBride, B., & Dewast, L. (2016). Brexit a ‘Wake-up Call’ and ‘End of a World’ for Global Leaders. ABC News. [Blog post]. Retrieved from end-world-leaders-express-grim-reality-brexit-vote/story?id=40099408

Novaky, N. (2016). Who wants to pay more? The European Union’s military operations and the dispute over financial burden sharing. European Security, 2016/2, 1-14. doi:https://

Osborne, S. (2016). Brexit: How the world’s media reacted to the EU referendum result. [Blog post]. Retrieved from -how-the-worlds-media-reacted-to-the-eu-referendum-result-a7102051.htm

Prawda, M. (2018). Krajobraz po szoku. In J. Barcz, S. Domaradzki, R. Kuligowski, M. Szewczyk & E. Szklarczyk-Amati (Eds.). Polska w Unii Europejskiej Nowe wyzwania. (pp. 9-17). Warszawa: Komisja Europejska Przedstawicielstwa w Polsce

Pruitt, S. (2017). The History behind Brexit: The often-rocky relationship between Britain and the European Union stretches back nearly a century. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Rittberger, B. (2012). The Treaties of Paris. In Jones, E., Menon, A. & Weatherill, S. (Ed.). The Oxford Handbook of the European Union (pp. 79-94). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Savin, L. (2017). Crisis of the general policy of European integration. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Schuman, R. (1950). The Schuman Declaration – 9 May 1950. Retrieved from

Spinelli, A., & Rossi, E. (1941). The Ventotene Manifesto. Ventotene: The Altiero Spinelli Institute for Federalist Studies. Retrieved from

Stokes, B. (2016). Euroskepticism Beyond Brexit. Significant opposition in key European countries to an ever closer EU. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.pewglobal. org/2016/06/07/euroskepticism-beyond-brexit/

Szymczyński, T. (2016). Brexit a wyzwania identyfikacyjne w odniesieniu do procesu integracji europejskiej z perspektywy hermeneutycznej. Rocznik Integracji Europejskiej, 10. doi: 10.14746/rie.2016.10.5

Tonra, B. (2009). The European Union as a Global Actor. 1-24. Retrieved from SSRN Electronic Journal, Treaty on European Union. Official Journal of the European Union, C 326, 26 October 2012.

United Kingdom Supreme Court. (2017). Miller & Anor, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. UKSC 5 (24 January 2017). Retrieved from

Zadarenko, K. (2017). The Impact of Brexit on Britain’s Labor and Immigration Policies. (Unpublished thesis). New York:State University of New York. Retrieved from https://


Creative Commons License
The journal offers access to the contents in the open access system on the principles of non-exclusive license Creative Commons (CC BY-ND 3.0).

eISSN: 2391-7601

(old ISSN: 1689-8168)

Declaration of the original version: the original version of the Torun International Studies is the electronic version.

Partnerzy platformy czasopism