After his previous talk at MIIS, which focused on fisheries policy and international cooperation over ocean’s governance, Ernesto made a presentation on EU current affairs to an International Studies course led by Professor Michel Gueldry. This time, he emphasized Brexit and populist movements across Europe.
He focused the presentation on the causes leading up to the Brexit vote, both in terms of European policy and domestic UK policy. Without prejudging the economic consequences of Brexit, which are largely dependent upon the negotiations that will start next year, he also referred to the political challenges on both sides of the English Channel after the Brexit vote.
Students had a wide array of questions about the topic. Many asked if Scotland may be able to hold a new referendum for independence, as they largely voted to stay in the EU. Ernesto couldn’t speak to specifics yet, and reminded students that this is the first time something like this has ever happened. He then talked about the ways in which negotiations would have to take place in regards to the role and position of UK fisherman and EU fisheries measures. Finally, he discussed the impact of this vote on the refugee crisis, saying that it is yet to be seen how the UK will uphold its responsibility to global citizens. Brexit, he emphasized, is a consequence the rise of populism in the UK and in the continent, and did not happen in a vacuum. There will be global consequences, but the actuality of what those may be is yet to be identified.
After leaving MIIS, Ernesto reflected on the past week and the different audiences he spoke to. “It was truly an honor to see how passionate the youth in this country are – and how knowledgeable. I am excited to get to continue these conversations in Seattle, and to see where these discussions take us.”