Brexit suits no one

If in 2015 we avoided Greece’s exit from the euro, here we are in 2016 talking about Brexit. Europe cannot sleep soundly, it seems that everyone wants to leave. At least this seems to be the trend of the moment, as the recent elections in Poland, Spain and Portugal also show. The existence of the EU is constantly being questioned, ‘if it doesn’t change, it will crumble’, we often hear people say. 

The Greeks finally decided not to leave the euro, they realised that it would not suit them. Of course, they had the chance to become independent again, but they realised that reforming the economic system and restoring public finances would be much more difficult without the help of their European partners.

But Greece is not Britain. The institutional structure of the United Kingdom has a very different solidity and tradition from that of Greece, and could permit it to grow outside the Union. 

The financial centre of London should be able to maintain its global competitiveness if British politicians continue to defend its interests with tenacity and cohesion.

Around the world, a possible Brexit is not well seen.

All the world’s great leaders, from Barack Obama to Xi Jinping to Prime Minister David Cameron, believe that Britain outside the EU would loose economic and political influence.  

Not to mention, leaving the EU would open up a long period of uncertainty.  During which thousands and thousands of substitute agreements for the single market would have to be renegotiated. These would then have to regulate trade, financial and political relations between Europe and the UK. A huge job.

All these uncertainties would have important consequences. Many investors might decide not to do business with the British. The British economy would suffer for years.  More seriously, an exit from the Union would risk undermining the very integrity of the country. 

And speaking of the integrity of the country, one cannot fail to mention Scotland. The Scottish independence leaders, have already said that if the outcome of the Brexit referendum was very different in Scotland than in other parts of the UK, a new referendum on Scottish independence would be immediately called for. There was already a referendum in 2014 but with a negative outcome for independence.

Now, in the event of Brexit, the outcome could be favourable, given the declared pro-European majority.

So the British would have this future ahead of them: The UK would leave the Union but would lose Scotland, with its atomic naval bases and oil wealth. What will they do across the Channel? We shall see over the years. 

In the meantime, the problem of political unity in Europe remains as topical as ever. All European politicians are asking for it but no one is implementing it. Each country should agree to work together, even when there is a risk of being outvoted, as happens in all democratic systems. And at this point, if progress cannot be made, the fault lies not so much with Europe as with those who have not understood the concept.


London taxi cabs pass beneath British Union flags as they fly from flag poles on The Mall in London, U.K., on Thursday, May 14, 2015. European Union and Jack flags as Brexit trade talks that were on the verge of a breakthrough descended into a fight between the U.K. and France on Thursday as the British government said prospects of an imminent deal had receded. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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