Brexit: Why to Choose Europe
On June 23rd British voters will have to answer a crucial question that will determine both their future and the future of the EU: whether to stay in, or leave the European Union. When we examine the arguments of the ‘Remain’ versus the ‘Leave’ camps, reason should dictate that to stay in would be the sensible choice. However the referendum’s result is far from certain and it remains to be seen whether the decision the British public makes is a rational one.
What David Cameron, Bill Gates, Yannis Varoufakis and Eva Herzigova have in common? Well, they support the UK remaining in the EU in the forthcoming European Union membership referendum . As the date of the vote approaches, the number of politicians, public figures, newspapers and magazines, businesses and other organizations who endorse Britain remaining in the EU, strikingly outweighs those wanting Britain leaving the EU. Yet the Brexit referendum remains dangerously too close to call. The realities of an EU-free UK risk being obfuscated by the tales and soundbites of the Brexiteers. The latter is not only less diverse than the remain camp but – as epitomized by its supporters (Nigel Farage, Ted Cruz, Marine Le Pen, and Geert Wilders) – it also shares a different understanding of society in the XXI century, socially less pluralistic and economically protectionist.
The realities of an EU-free UK risk to be obfuscated by the tales and soundbites of the Brexiteers.
Those who support withdrawal argue indeed that it would allow the UK to be in a better position to conduct its own trade negotiations, to be better able to control immigration, and be free from what they believe to be unnecessary EU regulations and bureaucracy. Those in favor of remaining in the EU argue instead that leaving the EU would risk the UK’s prosperity, diminish its influence over world affairs, jeopardize national security by reducing access to common European criminal databases, and result in trade barriers between the UK and the EU.
Who’s right ?
The weight of the evidence does not only indisputably tilt in favor of the ‘remain’ campaign, but also explains why this is winning a vast, international and bipartisan consensus. As substantiated by yet another UK Treasury report, the most immediate effects of Brexit would be short-term uncertainty, losing access to ‘passporting’ (i.e. the mechanism that allows firms to access the single market), divergent regulation, and talent relocation.
An isolated UK won’t be able to conclude trade agreements with the same bargaining power as today
The negative economic effects of Brexit will not be limited to the UK and won’t be outweighed – as argued by the leave camp – by the return of full democratic self-government. Evidence rather suggests that an isolated UK won’t be able to conclude trade agreements with the same bargaining power as today (this point was confirmed by G7 leaders Barack Obama and Shinzo Abe). It will also be incapable of handling migration flows more freely (the UK will be asked to ensure the free movement of people in order to gain access to the single market).
The Brexit referendum remains hijacked by an increasingly polarized, and as a result largely misinformed, political and societal debate.
Yet despite these platitudes the Brexit referendum remains hijacked by an increasingly polarized, and as a result largely misinformed, political and societal debate.
UK citizens (at least those who will be eligible to vote, not the disenfranchised) are asked to either leave the EU – without knowing what will happen – or to remain under a new renegotiated deal that remains largely to be implemented.
Given the high uncertainty surrounding the scenarios opened up by this referendum, the hope is that UK citizens will stick to what they have come to know in their European lives. While currently despising their EU bond, they might soon come to miss it.
It is not only the UK that loses out if it leaves the EU, but the European Union itself, which is set to become smaller and weaker both economically and geopolitically.