Sixty years after the beginnings of the European idea, the EU is in trouble. Debt and currency crises have eroded confidence into the European project while member states remain hesitant to transfer power to Brussels. Yet historically, crisis has always resulted in further integration.
We do not know whether Brexit will bring about more harm or benefit for Europe. It is a sad moment to see a great European country leaving the Union, and it also raises questions about the future of the UK as a mid-ranked European power and, indeed, as a united kingdom. The EU may come out of this turmoil institutionally strengthened, and its Eastern member states may be especially better off.
“These Britons are crazy!” is no longer just the familiar saying from the Asterix comics. On Friday morning, the news that the British really do want a divorce from the EU, analysts often did little more than invoke in incomprehension the bon mots from ‘Asterix’. By mid-morning, ‘Google News’ featured approximately 1,800 German articles that included the German version of the quote.
Brexit would affect foreign net contributors to Britain’s welfare state—and their British partners
The EU will have to take measures with respect to the new Polish government if it does not want to jeopardise the credibility of the European values. To send a clear signal to the new Polish government, it has to be willing to exploit the entire range of options under the rule-of-law mechanism and the procedure in accordance with Article 7 as well as to limit EU payments to Poland.
The new law about the Polish Constitutional Tribunal, the lawsuits of the Hungarian and Slovak government about the relocation of refugees, the potential Brexit and Fixit, the ongoing Greek crisis and the presidential election in spring 2017 – it is obvious: the upcoming 18 months will determine whether the European Union we have known will survive.