Today the United Kingdom (UK) officially initiated their exit from the European Union (EU). After many months of anticipation, British prime minister Theresa May will now engage in a historical gamble: safely getting the UK out of the EU. She says the UK will leave the EU but that it wants to remain in Europe. It will take at least two years before we can see how this has worked out. I cannot stop to think: all this trouble… was it really necessary?
Even if you wanted to, it seems you cannot get around the whole ‘Brexit’ affair. So much has been said and written about it that I felt reluctant to do so myself. We all know – one way or another – about the mess that the referendum left behind. Its aftermath has been, in one word, shocking. Though when hearing and reading about all the different reactions, one important perspective is often overlooked: the EU is undoubtably beneficial – but for whom? If it wants to prevent more member states from leaving, then politicians and policy makers need to take this question more seriously.
The intriguing ‘Brexit’ debate has been on my mind for a while. Now that Cameron has finally struck a deal with his European partners, I can make up the balance: the UK has not only distanced itself from the EU, it has also reintroduced a destructive political tool.
We’ve all heard what the Brits want in terms of European policy reform. Some of the demands are quite sensible, like the limitation of child benefits for workers coming from within the EU (mostly from Eastern Europe). Others, such as the removal of the notion “ever closer union”, is merely symbolic. Most of all, Cameron’s primary concern is pleasing the eurosceptics in his Conservative party, thereby strengthening his own position during his second term in office.