Paris – It started with "Grexit" – the long trumpeted
but never realised axing of Greece from the European Union. It was then reborn
as "Brexit" as Britain started down the – this time voluntary – path
of leaving the bloc.
The "-exit" formulation was coined by two economists from US financial giant Citigroup in February 2012 to describe the possible of departure of Greece from the EU.
It has now taken on a life of its own on social media, with eurosceptics across the continent all clamouring for their own vote on EU membership:
- "Frexit": French far-right leader Marine Le Pen called for a "Frexit" shortly after the results of Britain's membership referendum were announced. "Victory for Freedom! As I have been asking for years, we must now have the same referendum in France and EU countries," she declared on Twitter.
- "Nexit": "Now it is our turn," trumpeted Geert Wilders, the leader of the anti-Islam far-right Freedom Party (PVV) in the Netherlands, after Britain opted out of the EU. Wilders has promised to make a referendum on a "Nexit" a central plank of his party's election campaign.
- "Oexit": Austria's version comes from Oesterreich, the country's name in Austrian. And the idea is gaining ground in a country where far right party leader Norbert Hofer came within a hair's width of being elected to the largely ceremonial but coveted post of president last month. "Outstria" has been suggested as an alternative.
- "Swexit": The far right Sweden Democrats have floated the idea of a "Swexit", with opinion polls suggesting support for leaving the EU stands at 31%.
- "Fixit": Although the English version doesn't quite hold the right connotations, a petition calling for a Finnish exit has garnered thousands of signatures.
- "Dexit": The phrase has emerged in the Danish press, where the populist Danish People's Party (DPP) has been calling for a renegotiation of its EU accords.
- "Gerxit": It has appeared in French- and English-language media, but the idea of a "Gerxit" has little traction back at home in Germany. Though right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party Frauke Petry did describe "Brexit" as a warning to the EU. "If the EU does not abandon its quasi-socialist experiment of ever-greater integration then the European people will follow the Brits and take back their sovereignty," he said.
- "Italexit": A bid to leave the EU has also not gained much ground at home in Italy, a founding member of the union – apart from with the country's most prominent far-right politician, Matteo Salvini. "Cheers to the bravery of free citizens," the leader of the anti-immigration, anti-EU Northern League wrote on Twitter. "Heart, head and pride beat lies, threats and blackmail. THANKS UK, now it is our turn #Brexit".