Continental Brexit: Tracking Europe’s Interest in the UK’s EU Referendum
Will Brexit lead to the disintegration of the European project? With just over two weeks to go until the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, fears are rampant that the brutal British campaign will prompt calls for similar polls throughout Europe; far-right and populist parties, already on the rise across the continent, have wasted no time in advocating for a reevaluation of their respective countries’ relationships to the EU in light of the British vote. Cleary, the campaign is being monitored closely across Europe. But how closely?
To answer that question, I looked at how Predata’s signals for the main Wikipedia pages explaining Brexit, in different European languages, have fluctuated over the course of the campaign. The results are slightly surprising. Interest in Brexit has been most volatile and active in French and Dutch. This makes sense given the popularity of anti-Europe movements in each country — respectively, Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom and the Front National of Marine Le Pen. Le Pen is pushing for an in-out referendum, along similar lines to the UK vote, on France’s membership of the EU.
On the other hand, interest in Brexit in Danish and Catalan has been muted, despite many suggesting that a British vote in favor of leaving the EU would embolden similar movements in both Denmark (to leave the EU) and Catalonia (to push for a binding referendum on independence from Spain). And Greek-language interest in Brexit has been minimal to the point of non-existence, despite Greece’s own rocky relationship with the EU and the lingering prospect of Grexit. The results are summarized below.
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