When Britain voted to exit the European Union (EU) in 2016 after almost five decades of membership, it was expected to be the first of a number of exits. Almost seven years since the vote and three since Britain finally left, the post-Brexit EU remains intact, and will likely be so in the near future, but sportsbooks are already betting on the next to leave with tensions continuing to simmer over the last few years.
Among the 27 member states, Italy tops the books for bets as the next to leave at 3/1 odds. The country’s shift to the far-right coalition government led by Giorgia Meloni in October is seen as an indicator of looming financial instability, and the curtailment of progress in EU integration and reform.
Italy was also voted by nine out of 10 economists in a Financial Times poll to be the eurozone country “most at risk of an uncorrelated sell-off in its government bond markets” as the European Central Bank continues to raise interest rates and buy fewer bonds.
Greece trails behind Italy as next to leave with 6/1 odds. While economists say a Grexit is unlikely in the near future, its position as a favorite may have something to do with the country’s economy formally exiting the EU’s enhanced surveillance framework in August.
The exit marked the end of 12 years of pain from the reforms promised under three international bailouts amounting to $261 billion. This also means that Greece would regain significantly more freedom in creating policies and that it could work towards going back to an “investment grade” credit rating.
Up next with 7/1 odds of leaving is Poland. Warsaw has been in an extended conflict with Brussels over rule of law. The disciplinary system for judges in Poland in 2021 was found to be “not compatible with EU law.”
Warsaw has recently had to enact judicial reforms, and propose reforms on those reforms to meet the EU’s requirements in order to unlock $37 billion (€35 billion) in grants and loans as part of the bloc’s pandemic relief package.
France follows closely with 8/1 odds of leaving. President Emmanuel Macron warned that Frexit would be a real possibility if Front National Leader Marine Le Pen won last year’s election. Macron believes that “the EU has changed the life of this country,” along with 60% of respondents to a 2019 poll who voted that they were opposed to France exiting the EU.
In October, the president announced that they would be withdrawing from the Energy Charter Treaty — contrary to the wishes of the European Commission — in a bid to keep up with the country’s climate goals and the Paris climate agreement.
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