As Conservative Party members vote for the next UK prime minister — the one who will maybe, possibly, finally take Britain out of the European Union — they face a depressing choice: neither of the candidates is prepared for the role, and neither will create any ‘Brexit dividend’.
As the day of Brexit approaches (or not), emotions are running high. Particularly on the side of those wanting to remain in the European Union, there has been unprecedented unity and clarity in pushing for a deeper understanding of what the EU actually is.
However, this may come too late. A fundamental lack of knowledge and understanding of the EU is the root of the problems facing the UK today – not just the British government’s negotiation efforts, but also the public at large. Let’s look first at the main thing that sets the British apart from the people on the continental EU.
Brexit may be the most prominent attack on the European Union’s four freedoms, but it is by no means the only one. Subtler attacks are multiplying. If they are allowed to continue unchallenged, the EU will eventually crumble.
I know the chances of anyone paying attention to this article are slim, but it’s worth putting it out there nevertheless. If you are stockpiling to prepare for Brexit, as it increasingly is the fashion, you need to stop. You are doing yourself and the others around you more harm than good.
If Brexit does happen on March 29 this year, it will happen under the strangest possible presidency of the European Union: the Romanian presidency. While the role of president of the EU is all about openness, transparency and a love of democracy, the Romanian government seems to increase its preference for the opposites of these features.
If Brexit does go ahead (and probably even if it does not), the European Union is ready to chip away at Britain’s dominance in the financial sector. At least, that’s what a recent speech by François Villeroy de Galhau, the governor of the Bank of France, suggests.
The list of reasons to worry in the market is growing longer by the day, and investors keep taking money out of risky assets – among them, European ones.
The phenomenon has been dubbed an “exodus from Europe” by analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who say there is “no surprise that the outflow from European high grade and high yield funds has been much more sizable than outflows from emerging markets debt funds.”
By John Lee
Forget all the talk about a second referendum. Go back instead to the interpretation of the original, non-binding 2016 referendum. And be prepared to accept that you’ve been taken for a mug.
If Britain goes ahead and leaves the European Union in March next year as a consequence of the referendum held in June 2016, the positives of such a move would be greater for the EU than for the UK.
Two years after the Brexit vote, the UK population is as divided and as shocked as it was immediately after the results were announced, if not more so. The difference is that the negative economic consequences of the vote are in sharper focus.