How the Brexit is changing Britain

Must EU migrants now leave the British Isles? Is the UK on the brink of economic collapse? And what effect will the Brexit have on transatlantic relations? After the British vote Europe's commentators point to the many questions that need clarifying.

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Blog EUROPP (GB) /

Brexit would mean the end of the United Kingdom

If the British Parliament goes through with the Brexit the very existence of the United Kingdom will be in jeopardy, comments Jo Murkens, law professor at the London School of Economics, in the school's blog EUROPP:

“The UK is a 'family of nations': two nations voted to leave, but two voted to stay. There is, therefore, an alternative argument to the dominant narrative that a majority of people voted to leave. Second, an argument based on 'the will of the people' cannot plausibly be invoked to renounce the constitutional doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. ... In 2016, the priority for the next prime minister ought to be to secure the United Kingdom. Asserting the constitutional right of Westminster to withdraw Scotland and Northern Ireland from the EU ignores the reality that Westminster is no longer politically capable of enforcing that right. The more Westminster asserts its strength, the more it will lose its authority. The Union can only be kept together by building bridges, not by burning them across the English Channel.”

Blog David McWilliams (IE) /

People prefer the feeling of freedom

The question of whether or not to belong to the EU is decided by more than just economic factors, economist David McWilliams writes on his blog:

“Lots of people value sovereignty, nationalism and independence. Somewhere deep in the national psyche, the Norwegians and the Swiss (and the Icelanders, who rejected the EU last year) value their sovereignty, the right to make their own laws and run their own affairs. And they are prepared to pay for this luxury. They understand that globalisation is eroding the latitude that countries have to manoeuvre, but they prefer the feeling of independence. I use the word 'feeling' advisedly - because independence is a feeling. ... These are powerful emotions, which are obviously more compelling for people than pounds, shillings and pence.”

El Mundo (ES) /

Scotland makes Brexit even more complicated

Scotland's autonomous status will complicate the implementation of the Brexit referendum result, legal expert Muñoz Machado warns in El Mundo:

“Scotland's political position is so strong that it even held an independence referendum less than two years ago. Can a country leave the EU against the will of an intra-state community with autonomous status? … Even if the UK leaves the EU, Scotland could continue to apply EU law rather than English law in all affairs that fall within its own competencies. Scotland's forced exit from the EU would radically change its legal status. … This situation will either reinforce the calls for another referendum on Scottish independence or lead to attempts to correct the results of the Brexit referendum by either holding another one or watering down the consequences of the current one so that in the end everything remains pretty much as it was before.”

Új Szó (SK) /

Early election could prevent Brexit

If an early general election were held and produced a new political constellation it could spell the end of Brexit, journalist Marián Leško writes in the Hungarian-language daily Új Szó:

“The British are now learning the painful lesson that they voted on something the implications of which they didn't have a clue about. Why? Because the primitive EU-hostile mythmakers criminally neglected to explain the potential consequences of a Brexit. It cannot be ruled out that the Tories will seek refuge in an early election because of the huge tensions within the party. If that election were won by Labour and the Scottish National Party, the Conservatives' 'Brexit programme' would effectively be invalidated because the voters of these two parties wanted to stay in the EU. So we may be in for a few surprises yet.”

The Guardian (GB) /

The British love Europe now more than ever

Only now that the Brexit referendum is over are the British starting to see the European integration project in a positive light, The Guardian laments:

“It is fascinating to note that in just a few days Britain has become a country where so many people are now ready to speak positively and passionately about EU membership. ... A new popular mood may be born, one in which the EU becomes a cause for engagement, for values and solidarity - not a scapegoat or a caricatured technocratic entity. If something good can be drawn from this referendum wreckage, it may be the beginning of a permanent, positive culture about Europe in Britain. That’s something that has never existed before. If only it had happened earlier.”

Cyprus Mail (CY) /

Put a quick stop to racist attacks

According to the British police the number of hate crimes committed against migrants has risen since the Brexit referendum. Cyprus Mail hopes that the xenophobes will be stopped, and fast:

“Clearly they do not represent the majority of the British people who live in one of the most multicultural countries in the world and who are appalled by what's happening. The only hope is that police can nip it in the bud with a zero tolerance approach and hefty punishments. ... Perhaps it will all blow over when the glow of the Brexit win has waned and those who want 'foreigners out', realise that nothing will change as regards immigration for at least two years, and that they were misled into thinking a Brexit would end in an 'all-white' Britain overnight, or ever really.”

The New York Times (US) /

Key US partner loses clout

The Brexit will weaken Washington's most important partner and hinder the US's global positioning, The New York Times fears:

“No country shares Washington's worldview quite the way Britain does, they say; it has long been the United States' most willing security ally, most effective intelligence partner and greatest enthusiast of the free-trade mantras that have been a keystone of America's internationalist approach. ... Even if Britain eventually regains its influence on the Continent, a big if, it will be deeply distracted for years. Moreover, the loss of Britain's strong voice in Europe comes at a particularly bad moment: just as the United States and its allies are debating how to handle a revanchist Russia and reinvigorate Nato, hurry along an American-European trade pact that has been languishing, and work through a diplomatic settlement in Syria that could relieve the migrant crisis in Europe.”

Népszabadság (HU) /

Labour migrants need not fear

Fear is rife in Britain among workers from Eastern European countries that the Brexit could cost them their jobs. The Hungarian daily Népszabadság allays their fears:

“The fact is, like other Eastern Europeans, Hungarians are essentially in Britain because of the work. And since they can work legally, they also pay their taxes and social contributions. So it's a fallacy that they're a burden on the British welfare system. Regardless of how much animosity there is for immigrants in the UK, those now working there will certainly not be expelled just because they're Hungarians, Poles, Romanians or Bulgarians. So to that extent foreign workers in Britain are not in any danger. ... What is also reassuring is that many British companies, local governments and universities said after the vote that they would do all they could to keep foreign workers in the country.”

Kauppalehti (FI) /

Britain will not be a new Norway

In recent days Finnish politicians have expressed the hope that Britain could acquire the same status as European Economic Area (EEA) member Norway. The business paper Kauppalehti rejects the idea:

“Unfortunately Britain will not become a new Norway, even if the Finns want it to. The British want to have all the advantages of the single market with no obligations. As an EEA member they would have to swallow much EU legislation without being able to influence it themselves. The Brits would still have to pay into the EU budget, which has been a bone of contention ever since Margaret Thatcher swung her handbag. And as an EEA member Britain would still be subject to the free movement of people, whereas immigration was one of the key reasons why the Brits voted Brexit in the first place. It would be very strange if the will of the people were completely forgotten right after the vote.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

The British want to destroy the EU

The Brexit referendum was actually a devilish plan by Britain to secure global influence again, Jutarnji list surmises:

“Britain's exit is a strategic step to accelerate the dissolution of the EU. At the same time Britain is planning to position itself as the leader of a new political-social initiative that will emerge in the wake of the EU collapse. In a nutshell: it is utterly clear that Britain has no chance of establishing itself as a strategic leader as long as the Union is functional, homogeneous and successful. So it is only logical that during the two years of exit negotiations, Britain will use all legitimate means to start the process of EU disintegration. The Brexit is nothing more than a wager on the imminent collapse of the EU.”

More opinions

T24 (TR) / 07 July 2016
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