With Britain on track to invoke Article 50 in March, is the EU unprepared for the implications of Brexit?
Tim Worstall, senior fellow of the Adam Smith Institute, and author of Chasing Rainbows: Economic Myths, Environmental Facts, says Yes.
There are minor implications of Brexit that Europe hasn’t really got to grips with yet. Given that the UK has long been a substantial net contributor, who is going to fill the hole in their budget?
There are those who think they’ll attract some decent portion of the City, when of course the flow is going to be the other way, as it has been for decades. Who wouldn’t prefer to be offshore from that regulatory nightmare?
But the real thing that should be keeping them up at night is: what if Britain does – as I insist it will – become significantly richer by leaving? That would show that the entire project has been a failure.
It’s not necessary to hide inside the Customs Union, and it isn’t true that only a larger grouping can thrive in the modern world. That’s what the federasts need to worry about – that the UK will do better without them. Given that they actually believe their own propaganda, that is the one possibility that hasn’t even crossed their minds.
Dr Denis MacShane, the UK’s former Europe minister and a senior adviser at Avisa Partners, Brussels, says No.
While attention in the UK has focused on the charade of the Supreme Court ruling and the Commons vote on whether to invoke Article 50 – caused by Mrs May’s foolish initial wish to bypass Parliament – the rest of Europe has quietly and professionally been making plans for Brexit.
I have recently been in finance and foreign ministries in Berlin and Paris. They have impressive teams of skilled negotiators working on every aspect of Brexit. These plans are co-ordinated with the other EU governments as well as Michel Barnier’s high-level team in Brussels.
The position is unified, clear, polite. The UK can leave the EU when it wishes. But the EU 27 will stick by their rulebook and a system that – whatever its imperfections – works well for them.
There won’t be any unilateral rewriting to accommodate special sectoral demands from the UK. The decision on what kind of Brexit is entirely in Mrs May’s hands. Europe has its bases covered.