A sad day

June 30, 2016 | 11:10
A sad day
A sad day
So it actually happened: the UK has opted for a withdrawal from the EU. Maybe like me you can remember the days when the EEC (as it was known then) consisted of just nine members; in the intervening years we have witnessed robust negotiations where preferential allowances and some ‘extra sausage’ has been granted to the UK. Now it’s hardly credible but they seem to have lost their appetite for the whole venture.

The result came as a shock with no clear roadmap of the way ahead. Thousands of existing contracts will need to be renegotiated, a task that will no doubt drag on for years.  The German Central Association of Electrical and Electronics industries (ZVEI) acknowledged that the UK market accounted for sales of almost 10 billion Euros annually for the German electronics industry. In its initial response to the referendum result the ZVEI called for “A new European idea, one that is attractive to all generations”.

For me however, the old European idea still hasn’t lost its appeal: to be part of a strong community where member states can benefit from a growing economic and political influence in a global economy. Where the removal of trade barriers and regulations creates space and opportunities for businesses and citizens equally and where unified worker and consumer rights benefit both young and old alike.

What’s missing seems to be the political will to fully support and promote the idea. For a successful community all participants need to take their share of common responsibilities, to some extent renounce national allegiances in favour and respect to the wishes of the greater majority. When populist governments, parties and politicians exploit public uncertainties and fears by resorting to redundant nationalist solutions, it will always be completely out of tune with EU philosophy – old or new.

It’s sad that a rise in such feelings of nationalism played a part in the Brexit result; as for the economic implications, I guess we will just need to crack on…

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