Britain created history in 2016 when the country voted by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent to leave the EU – ending 47 years of membership to the bloc and unshackling itself from Brussels’ strict rules. Boris Johnson has continued to insist Brexit Britain can flourish outside the EU – evident by the raft of multi-billion pound trade deals it has signed global superpowers since the turn of this year. But since Brexit, the EU has stumbled from one crisis to the next as it struggles from a growing backlash against its policies from a number of member states.
Early in the year, Brussels came under mounting pressure over its botched Covid vaccine rollout programme because of a supply feud with AstraZeneca, whilst Brexit Britain sped ahead with its own rollout.
Most recently, the EU has been embroiled in a bitter war of words with Poland and Hungary over rule-of-law violations, triggering a furious backlash from the two nations.
It has been reported the EU is set to demand an explanation from the two countries over allegations they have been misusing the bloc’s funds – opening the possibility of withholding billions of euros in funding to them.
Arlene Foster, who served as Northern Ireland’s First Minister and leader of the DUP in the country, has branded the EU’s behaviour towards Poland as “very counter-productive” and “very poor”.
When asked if the EU needs to “calm its tone with member states” amid its ongoing conflict with Poland, she told Express.co.uk: “Yes absolutely.
“I was amazed at the reaction from the EU towards Poland – it was very counter-productive.
“From someone who has been in politics a very long time, if you go down that road, then I’m not sure what they expect the Polish to do if they are spoken to in that fashion. That is very poor.”
Following Brexit, a number of campaign groups from some of the EU’s leading member states – including France, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland – have pressed for their own countries to leave the EU.
They are becoming deeply unhappy with the amount of control the EU has over them, particularly around wide-ranging rules and policies.
Ms Foster believes the EU will be “incredibly worried” about the prospect of more member states following the UK out of the bloc, and questioned why Brussels isn’t pushing the “more Europe” message a lot more at present.
She added millions of people want to express their “national identities” and warned it is approaching the point where there is going to have to be a “reset” in the EU.
When asked if other member states could copy Brexit amid growing frustration, the veteran politician replied: “That’s what they (the EU) are incredibly worried about because that’s why they took the position they did over negotiations with the UK.
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“For example, they look at Spain where there have been difficulties in the Basque and Catalonia.
“They look at Italy, Greece and Poland of course.
“They should be asking themselves why this is the case instead of pushing this ‘more Europe’ rhetoric.
“People have national identities and they want to express those national identities.”
Ms Foster concluded: “The EU are reaching a point where there is going to have to be a reset.
“There are too many balls in the air at the moment and they need to ask why that is the case.”