The outcome of the British Brexit referendum sent shockwaves across Europe. It sent signals about the future of the European Union (EU), not only to the Member States but also to the surrounding world. How to characterize the EU after Brexit? We address this problematic by investigating the metaphors applied to the EU in the Russian and Ukrainian press in the first week after the referendum. We find that metaphors in the Russian press demonstrate a basic image of the EU as weak and fragmented. The EU is considered to be moving on a bumpy road with an uncertain destination. Feelings of superiority are intricately combined with hope and pride as a result of perceived opened opportunities. In Ukraine, Brexit is seen from a local perspective with its potential effects on visa freedom as the most important consideration. Metaphors demonstrate a basic image of the EU as without vision and travelling on rough seas. This situation is considered both as a potential threat and an opportunity and is associated with both hope and anxiety.
European Foreign Affairs Review