There seems to be morning-after buyer’s remorse assaulting Britain after the vote to leave the European Union. If not exactly remorse, then at least “We/they did it. My goodness, what have we/they done? And now what?”
The markets are in turmoil and the British pound committed hara-kiri, but I think those things will settle down and return to some position of normalcy soon.
The political implications are far more serious. Almost everyone agrees that the onerous regulations coming from Brussels, which is where the EU headquarters and bureaucrats are located, were a large part of the Brexit (British Exit) success. Other factors were the lack of sovereign borders with all the security and economic implications, supporting countries heading towards bankruptcy and unwilling to take austerity measures (Greece), and the feeling that Britain contributed far more to the EU than it gained.
The EU began as an economic union of the coal and steel producing capacities of some countries, and kept expanding until it is the behemoth of today, more political than economic. Free movement within EU countries was a boon for many years, with residents of one member country able to move to any other member country to live, go to school, and/or work without bureaucratic permits.
As an Alaskan who traveled for a brief 10 days in Germany and Austria a few years ago, not counting countless hours in the Frankfurt airport en route to and from Russia, it’s impossible for me to understand and expound on all the benefits and negatives about the EU. I can say, however, the borders were seamless and without passport inspections., and there were no visa requirements for Americans. Had there not been occasional “Welcome to …” signs, I wouldn’t have known I’d passed into another country.
The use of the Euro as the common currency was wonderful and exceedingly efficient in those two countries, though it did take four of us to figure out the machine that dispensed Wiener Linien (tram) tickets to Shӧnbrunn Palace from Vienna.
Now, with terrorism a major concern, that freedom of movement has become a dangerous liability, in many opinions, with the flood of refugees from the war-torn countries of the Middle East, and the very real possibility of ISIS or Al Qaeda terrorists infiltrating the masses. Economically some of the EU member countries have seen impossible burdens placed on their resources as hundreds of thousands of indigent refugees head to countries with the best social programs. Britain has received so many refugees that it had to severely curtail immigration from non-EU countries, even though those potential immigrants might contribute positively to Britain’s economy.
Now, there are indications that the United Kingdom is in danger of breaking apart, with Northern Ireland and Scotland going their separate ways, leaving Britain and Wales. In fact, if we can believe the rumblings coming out of Europe, the entire EU might be in the early days of crumbling.
As I sit here pondering the long-range implications of Brexit, along with the entire world worrying and fretting, I wonder if this turmoil might be the impetus needed to reconsider the purpose of a union of European countries and to address the concerns of Britain and other countries to see if there isn’t a solution that could retain the union in some form. Perhaps one with more sovereignty as to unfettered immigration, less regulation from Brussels, as well as a retention of free trade and the common use of the Euro for those countries that desire it.
Something along the lines of a “re-constitutional” convention. It’s just a thought.