Europe 2.0. – The Path Forward

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Hi everyone,

so it is clear that we have been all quite shocked on Friday by Brexit. I certainly was. As an EU citizen I think the UK has chosen a very strange path for itself, but it is a strong country and it will surely do well. I only regret the opportunities lost for young Britons in the next few decades. Nevertheless, we Europeans should now focus on ourselves rather than Britain. As in an actual marriage, if your spouse asks for divorce, it is for the best if you start pursuing your interests instead of crying over the broken pot. It might be painful, but it should be you who walks away with grandma’s silver plates. As Chancellor Merkel has said we don’t need to be nasty about it. We just have to do it with what’s best for us in our minds.

The British trade policy will undoubtably be to turn towards the world and gain greater piece of the trade pie in China, India and the old colonies. That way the UK could get ahead of the EU and negotiate deals with Europe from the position of strength. We should not idly stand by. The UK might be the 5th largest economy, but the attractiveness of the EU’s common market is still far greater. We should immediately send people to all countries that the UK is interested in and negotiate better deals that the UK in order to limit their reach. It is in our interest to negotiate from the position of strength as well. As we all know, big dogs needn’t to bark.

Secondly, we must stand our ground and not give away anything for free during the EU-UK negotiations. The UK has gotten used to receiving special treatment and exceptions from EU laws. That practice must be ended in order to attract multi-national companies across the channel into France and Germany. Let’s not forget about the planned merge of Deutsche Börse and the London Stock Exchange (i have written an article about it before). According to the original deal it should merge and move to London, but the deal hasn’t been approved yet and this might be the right time to bring the trade over to Germany. Even better so if the UK loses its right to make exchanges in euro. We are certainly not talking about crippling your spouse during the divorce. We want her to be happy, but at the same time we should make sure our next spouse won’t get the same ideas or get jealous. Russia is masking its joy over the decision well right now, but they must be pretty excited. The UK has never been in favour of the EU sanctions on Russia and I am sure it won’t be that hard to ship Russian goods over to England, repackage it and ship it to the EU as UK export. That is one of the reasons to make trading with the UK a peg less interesting for potential investors. You might suggest that EU companies sell lots of goods to the UK and they will protest against tougher rules, but let’s not forget that many of the traditionally ‘British’ brands like Rolls Royce or Bentley haven’t been in British hands for a long time (p.s. if you are British I advise you not to start looking up real owners of your revered companies since I do not want to be responsible for your upcoming depression) and I am sure it won’t be hard for them to lobby out good deals in Westminster and Brussels.

Thirdly, we should support Scotland and Northern Ireland in their possible struggle for dissolution of the United Kingdom. I know that sounds particularly nasty, but if you think about it, not doing so can get us in trouble and makes sense politically. Northern Ireland has just managed to broker peace in conflict that has lasted hundreds of years. It has been an exceptionally difficult process and it hasn’t been so long since the time when the IRA (Irish Republican Army) was detonating bombs around the UK and Europe. If new borders have to be raised in Norther Ireland it can hardly end well. With the trouble we are facing in Greece and Italy right now I don’t think we can afford another conflict there. Independent Scotland and it’s oil would surely receive warm welcome in the EU and it would push England into a political corner, so why not.

As many have said already, there is no turning back if the UK actually leaves the EU. We should not be nasty about it, but we also must not be overly nice or we are risking the integrity of the Union. As time goes by, people change their minds and maybe if we set the conditions right now, then one day, when the English people have sufficiently played out their egos, they might realise  that they could play much more significant role within the Union if only they wanted it and if they decide to rejoin in the future, however improbable it seems now, we would have upper hand in  negotiating all conditions including applying the euro and having them join at their full potential.

Europe has just had an heart attack. It’s time to go on a strict diet, discipline ourselves and in the end … what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.

Michael

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