LISTEN: What You Wanted To Know About Brexit But Were Afraid To Ask

Jul 5, 2016

Dr. Michelle Williams
Credit Michael Spooneybarger/CREO

  For a political scientist, the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union is like watching the World Cup and Super Bowl combined. Dr. Michelle Williams, the chair of the Department of Government and a Professor of Political Science at the University of West Florida, sat down with Bob Barret to explain what the Brexit vote means for the EU and the future.


  • The European Union began as an economic free trade zone after the end of World War II
  • It began with 12 nation-states and now has 28 minus one.
  • Over time, the EU took on a more political character.
  • In the 1990, several treaties were introduced to strengthen the political unity and power of the EU.
  • At the turn of the 21st Century, several nation-states started pushing back to regain what they saw as lost "national sovereignty" from the EU.
  • Dr. Williams believes this is a populist movement, meaning an anti-immigrant platform brought about by the migrant crisis in Europe.
  • The United Kingdom hadn't fully embraced the EU. An example was their rejection of the Euro and keeping their own currency.
  • While the people have spoken with the Brexit vote, could the people be ignored? Dr. Williams sees several scenarios where that could happen including calling for nation election in the UK and seating a new, pro-European Union parliament.