German Language Blog

After the Brexit, maybe a Dexit? Posted by on Jun 27, 2016 in Culture

The people of the United Kingdom have decided: they want to leave the European Union (EU). This is also referred to as the Brexit, a combination of Britain and exit. But what does this mean for other countries in Europe, what about Germany? Will there be a Dexit?

The Brexit

British polling station (Image by Ungry Young Man at under license CC BY 2.0)

Even though many outlets and economic analyses have shown that leaving the EU is not beneficial at all for the UK, 52% still voted to leave. The main reason that the leave-campaign gained such a large following was because people were fed up with the EU, or rather the technocrats at all levels regulating their lives. So mostly, it was a protest vote.

People did not, however, realize what this means for them. A huge economic downfall, no longer free movement rights within the EU, no longer a European connection that ensures peace… There is so much more. Let’s just indulge in John Oliver’s breakdown of it all:

What do the Germans say?

According to Ipsos Mori, a British Meinungsforschungsinstitut (polling research institute), 34% of Germans want to leave the Europäische Union (EU). In other words, they want a so-called “Dexit”, a combination of Deutschland (Germany) and exit.

Many people protest about the billions of help given to other countries in the Eurokrise (Euro crisis), a substantial part of which was paid by Germany. Some think it would be a good idea to leave not the EU as a whole, but only the euro, and go back to the Deutschmark, or D-mark, such as the party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) (Alternative for Germany).

Also, the German Grundgesetz (Basic Law, the German Constitution) does not provide for a way to have a referendum, a so-called Volksentscheid (people’s decision) about leaving the EU. Only in very specific and special cases, a Volksentscheid could be held, and even then, it is very rare to have a referendum in Germany.

However, the Grundgesetz can be amended to make Volksentscheide easier.

Dexit unlikely

Merkel called for “Ruhe und Besonnenheit” (calm and sobriety) in analyzing the situation with the Brexit now. The idea that Germany would be next is completely off the table. However, Sigmar Gabriel, party leader of the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschland (SPD) (Social Democratic Party Germany) said that the Brexit vote does indicate a desire for a changed EU. The Bürger (citizens) need to be able to have a closer relationship with the EU, to see what it offers.

So, there is no political will for a Dexit, and a majority of the German people would vote to stay in the EU. This is not surprising, as Germany is the main (economic) power in the EU, and is the Member State that keeps the others together in a lot of cases. The EU also serves as a way to collaborate with other European countries, and one to prevent devastating wars like we have witnessed in the 20th century. By striving for such a peaceful Union, Germany shows that it does not have any such intentions, and stepping out of the Union would probably seen as a “dangerous” move by Germany. And the Germans know that!


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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.


  1. MaryJane:

    Great Britain wants to run the show, play by their own rules, and are spoiled sports when they are told NO. Everyone in the EU uses the Euro but GM because they don’t want to…Nobody wants to have to do the math to use the Pound….I think GB has made a mistake, and I hope Scotland gains independence so they can continue realizing the advantages of the EU

  2. Dave:

    I have long felt that “Protest Votes” are dangerous and often have consequences that the majority supporting them do not recognize. Their vote is really just let their government know how unhappy they are with what is going on.

    Think about it…seldom will voting against something/someone instead of for something/someone have only the result we desire…if we know what that is. Looking at what is going on in Great Britain., there seem to be many who voted for Brexit that are saying: “Gulp, we won…now what? Let’s have another vote.”

  3. Joseph T. Madawela:

    president Trump?

  4. Barry Hummel:

    When Government rules without the consent of the people you get this. Brussel is responsible for the Bexit. No one wants to be ruled by someone they can’t express their complaints to.