EU countries: The five countries that could leave the bloc next

European Union lambasts Boris Johnson over NI 'clarity'

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Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” has seen Russian troops occupy tracts of Ukrainian land, warranting a hurried and united response from the EU. Over the last few months, that early unity has fallen away, exposing cracks in the 27-nation alliance’s foundations. Several member states have scuppered the bloc’s attempts to hold Russia accountable and could end up leaving or being pushed out.

Hungary

Longtime Putin ally Viktor Orban controversially secured a new term as Hungarian Prime Minister in April.

Yesterday, the EU exempted Hungary from an oil embargo designed to shutter Moscow’s remaining European income streams.

But Mr Orban only managed to clinch the reprieve after holding “everyone hostage”, one diplomat said, as he held up the EU’s decision on new sanctions.

Since taking his latest term, he has received congratulations from Putin and his authoritarian streak may eventually wear thin with EU chiefs, leading them to oust Hungary before the country leaves.

Austria

Austria’s history of Euroscepticism is nearly as extensive as the UK’s, with the country having considered its place in the bloc for decades.

Analysts have suggested the country’s pro-EU parties have failed to meld the Austrian and European identities, creating support for “Öxit”.

Perceptions of the union have fluctuated significantly since 1994, and anti-EU parties pushed for Austria to leave with the UK in 2016.

In 2021, Markus Gastinger, a political scientist at the University of Salzburg, created an “EU exit index” that placed the country atop likely nations to leave the bloc, but the Öxit movement has not gained much momentum.

Czechia

The Czech Republic is one of the EU’s younger members, having joined the bloc in 2004.

The country entered the bloc off the back of an accession referendum favoured by 77.3 percent of the Czech populace.

But attitudes have changed since then, as a study conducted in early 2020 by research group Behavio found EU approval was the lowest of the 27 member states.

Just 33 percent of Czechs said they viewed the EU positively, while fewer than half – 47 percent – would vote to remain in the bloc.

Sweden

A Swedish “Swexit” has gained traction since Britain voted to leave the EU in 2016.

The country was neck and neck with Austria on Professor Gastinger’s scale in 2021, and it has appeared to tiptoe closer to leaving the bloc since 2021.

In mid-2021, the country’s government ceased seven years of negotiations with Brussels on their bilateral relationship that promised to damage Sweden’s market access to its neighbours.

But the country is not wholly Eurosceptic, as officials have advocated for closer ties in some sectors, namely health.

 

Italy

Italy helped form a vital foundation of the EU in 1957 when Rome hosted the ceremony signing the European Economic Community treaty.

Italians have helped support the union since, and talks of “Italexit” have received little serious consideration.

But political parties in the country have become more Eurosceptical in recent years, with three of the dominant movements within Italy’s House of Deputies being overtly so.

While not present in the European Parliament as UKIP and the Brexit Party, Italy also has a political party dedicated to leaving the bloc named Italexit that boasts a presence in the Chamber of Deputies and Senate.

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