The eurosceptic MP warned the European Union could fuel further dissent among member states with its plans to integrate more. Mr Smith claimed Brussels had “a lot of history of overriding democracy” by re-running referendums until citizens accept plans to integrate more. But he insisted EU countries have begun to show signs of resistance to such attempts. 




Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Smith said: “The evidence is that EU citizens across all member countries don’t want to see the sort of centralising of power and, frankly, the removal of local democratic attempts.


“We have seen that with unrest in a number of EU countries – perhaps Italy is the most strong recently in terms of results of the Italian elections and the referendum on the constitutional changes last year. We have seen across Europe of people who try to take back control from the European Union.


“Do I think that will stop the European Union? Not at all. I think the ideals of the European Project are so strong in those in power that hold them that they are quite willing to resist European electorates to achieve those.”


He continued: “I think there’s a lot of history of them overriding democracy, whether it be the French and the Irish rejecting the EU Constitution which was then slightly tweaked and re-presented as the Lisbon Treaty. Whether it be the Greeks voting the bailout, whether it be the Dutch and the Danish who had previously voted against EU treaties but then told to try again and rerun.




“There’s a history at the heart of the European Union of utterly denying that democratic accountability and continuing to drive this single, centralised structure.”


But the staunch Brexiteer suggested Brexit could mark the beginning of the end of this trend – saying Britain leaving the European Union represents an “existential challenge” to the bloc.


Mr Smith continued: “Sometimes at the centre of the EU Britain has been seen as a brake to greater centralisation and ever-closer union, integration of the EU and perhaps without Britain there that might continue at an even greater pace.


“But I suspect this is going to be ultimately something that will lead to the demise of the European Union as we know it because the European Union is an answer to a question that existed during the height of the Cold War, when half of Europe was still under Soviet occupation.”




Mr Smith’s forecast appeared to echo historian Niall Ferguson who suggested the internal struggle of growing populism could soon mark the end of Brussels. 


Analysing how the bloc has so far dealt with crises and considering the ones that loom over it, he predicted the union will be soon invested by a life-threatening emergency.


He said: “For Brussels, it could be tight in the next 10 years.”


During this decade, the historian believes the future of the EU will be decided but according to his analysis, Europe is too poorly prepared for the imminent challenges of the coming years to survive.


According to Prof Ferguson, the bloc is facing internal struggles, with the surge of populist movements which are seizing power in a growing number of European countries.


Mr Ferguson highlighted that the rise of populism means the loss of power of traditional parties which have historically supported the EU: “In some ways, the EU reminds me of the old Holy Roman Empire.


“This is not a construct that will take you into the 21st century.”




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