Bremain or Brexit: the view from mainland Europe via our senior advisors

  • Germany: please don’t go, we need you
  • Denmark: no to Europe weakens the entire EU
  • The Netherlands: come back Sir Humphrey

Reasons why the UK should remain in the EU and one reason why it should leave

By Wolf Klinz

Reasons for „Remain“:

–  In times of globalisation the UK is stronger as an influential member of the EU (co-shaping the EU policies) than alone. To regain 100% of its sovereignity upon leaving is an illusion. Most of the EU rules and regulations will continue to apply .

–  Leaving will put the UK economy at risk.. The cost should not be underestimated:

The pound might  lose up to 20% of its value, the trade basis will be committed to a lengthy and damaging period of uncertainty. The UK’s attractiveness as investment destination will suffer substantially.

–  Being part of the biggest market in the world is an asset. It will be impossible to replace the access to that market by negotiating bilateral trade agreements with third countries.

–  If the UK leaves, the British farming sector will suffer a lot. There won´t be any agriciultural subsidies any more. Important sales channels for British agricultural products will be closed.

–  Security would not be improved by insulating Britain from the rest of Europe, but on the contrary would be hampered. Desspite all its flaws the EU is a vital bulwark of international security.

–  Stability of a country depends inctreasingly on a fruitful cooperation between nations.

Putting this cooperation of the UK with its European partners into question could eventually lead to an implosion of the EU itself . The British people should know what responsibilty they have when voting.

Reasons for „leave“

–  The departure of the UK would bring the British problem and the special requests by the UK („querelles anglaises“) to a definitive end. If the new status of the UK with the EU 27 is negotiated in a tough way, the risk of other members wanting to follow the UK example might then be small.

Why should the UK remain a Member of the EU?

By Poul Skytte Christoffersen

Firstly, for your own sake. All serious economists forecast substantial negative effects on growth and employment in Britain after a BREXIT. Such predictions should be taken with a grain of salt -adjustment by business and consumers to new conditions often dampens the impact of change. The problem with BREXIT is that it will take many years before the new conditions will be known.

The UK would be likely to leave the Union sometime in the fall of 2018, without having concluded an agreement with the EU on future relations. The day after, Britain will be outside the internal market – the greatest and UK-inspired – achievement by the EU over the past 30 years. British exporters of goods and services will lose “passport rights” and not only in the financial sector. It would be from a position of outsider that the UK would have to fight its way back into some kind of access. The treaty provisions do not favour those that leave.

Likewise, the UK will have to seek own trade agreements with the rest of the world. Don’t expect third countries to crowd onto the starting line – they will want to see what Britain achieves in relation to the EU before they engage. All in all, expect uncertainty to last for a decade. This will be particularly bad for the UK but also for the rest of us.

Secondly, a European Union without Britain will be a weaker EU – at least in the short term. The UK has been a force for good in its contribution to European integration in areas where the country decided to engage. Your contribution to the promotion of a market oriented and open European Union is legend, including in keeping Germany on the right side of the argument. Your departure would not only weaken those forces but Britain would be the first victim in any future trade deal.

Inside or outside, Britain has a keen interest in a peaceful and prosperous Europe. Your contribution as an engaged member of the EU is essential to achieve this goal. What a paradox it would be if you left at a moment when Europe is developing towards a leaner Europe without federalist ambitions. Instead of staying and contributing to the consolidation of this new direction, your departure could provoke a change of course.

On Brexit

By Luc Werring

Many analyses have been issued about the economic consequences of a Brexit, but these are estimates that do not and never will convince the Leave fans.

It is not about the economy stupid. It is all about immigration and it is proving rather easy to scare large parts of the UK population with myths and utterly false statements on this issue.

The picture of the short-term threat of a massive invasion sells much better than the story of a collapsing economy. Especially to those that are already in a difficult financial situation and do not own any assets.

Moreover, years of blaming the EU for all that was bad and forgetting to give any credits to it when something was a success is paying off now.

So the outcome of the referendum is not at all sure.

It is hard to imagine the EU without the UK, but especially the British presence in the institutions would be missed.

After 23 working in the European Commission and being Dutch, I can honestly say that the presence of British citizens in the Commission, Council and European Parliament gives an added value that is even more than proportional to the size of this Member State.

Of course, the advantage of using the mother tongue as main working language should not be forgotten. However, the quality of British Commission officials and also of the civil servants attending our meetings is generally outstanding.

They especially have the ability to make their points very clearly, to analyze a given situation and to come with pragmatic solutions.

In the rhetoric of the coming referendum some highly-placed British politicians irritate citizens of other Member States immensely by picturing UK as “in the lead” of a better EU.

However, I have seldom seen such arrogance at working level. On the contrary, British colleagues are dedicated and reliable and have a fantastic sense of humor with the ability to put problems in perspective.

I am sure that  the Dutch government and the majority of the Dutch population want the UK to stay in for geopolitical and economic reasons. However, the impact on the institutions of a Brexit is not yet even taken into account.

So let us hope for a good result and the decision by the majority of UK citizens to go against the opinion of their tabloids.

They all write here in a personal capacity.

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