In his last meeting with European Union leaders, David Cameron affirmed that until Britain leaves the European Union, it is full paying member of the institution and refused the temptation of triggering the Article 50. By refusing to trigger the formal process for Britain to leave the EU, while European Union leaders desperately wanted him to do so, he has done nothing more than kicking the can down the road for the next Prime Minister to pick it up.
Across British political spectrum, the reality of leaving the European Union, with all the consequences that would trigger, finally dawns on British Politicians. There are good reasons to negotiate to keep Britain in European Union:
-The fall of the British pound is the first warning sign; major corporations are planning to pull their headquarters out of London. Even if Britain opts for the Norwegian model, it will continue to pay billions in contributions to the European Union without having a say in shaping the rules of the single market.
-There are also elements of UK unity at play. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar, three British territories that voted to stay in Europe, could call their own referendum on remaining part of the UK. Scotland and Gibraltar are already in talks to form an alliance that would join the EU.
-Scotland voted massively in favor of remaining within the European Union. Scots now refuse to be dragged out of it. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met European leaders Wednesday afternoon in Brussels, discussing the place of Scotland in European Union, in any event that the UK central government in London does not reverse the Brexit. She claimed, after that meeting, being confident that Scotland's voice was being heard and that the European Union understood its position. Last week she made it plainly clear that the possibility of the second referendum for Scottish Independence is on the table.
Should Scotland break free of England, (make no mistake of it,) it would be welcomed back into the European Union as a sovereign and Independent country. Scots would have the best of both worlds: free of English dictates and welcome in the common European family. Their economic liberalism and progressive social policies meanwhile being a boon to the rest of the Europe.
From this perspective it is far from certain that British leaders will abide by the Brexit and actually leave the European Union. The decision by British voters last week is not legally binding; It is simple an advisory to British leaders.
According to US Secretary of State, John Kerry, even the high profile ''Leave'' campaigners such a former London Mayor Boris Johnson are also in no hurry to leave. Whether this means that Brexit could be reversed remains unclear. However, John Kerry believes that there are number of ways of reversing the Brexit. So for the sake the argument, let's explore the ways of reversing the Brexit:
In order to leave the European Union, the next British Prime Minister would have to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that governs the European Union. That means that the actual process of leaving the European Union, could be starting three months after the Brexit. There is actually a strategic element to waiting to invoke Article ''50'':
-the negotiations with the EU are expected to be very, very hard. So Britain does not entertain the idea of leaving the European Union without sealing a deal on free market with the European Union and if no deal is struck withing the sunset period ( two years period offered by Article 50) and no extension granted, Britain might just reverse the Brexit to stay in European Union or call for another referendum before the end of two years period.
- Britain's Parliament could also vote to block leaving the European Union. They may also seek to influence Britain's deal with the European Union, potentially moving Britain away from some its harder demands toward something more accommodating of European viewpoints, or
-British lawmakers could simply ignore the will of 52 percent of voters by not endorsing the next Prime Minister decision to invoke Article 50,
-British lawmakers could also open negotiations with European Union leaders on a path for Britain to stay in the EU. The Three months break allows the Parliament some wiggle room to backtrack from the decision.
The United Kingdom might now enter a new phase in its history characterized by a further deterioration of its international standing and economic uncertainty. Europeans, meanwhile, have to catch up on the time they spent dealing with 40 years British foot-dragging. Great opportunities are out there to be seized:
-Great Britain leaving the European Union present Europeans with the possibilities of the establishment of a common European military, of shared European representation in international institutions. Europeans should seize this historical opportunity in order to tremendously boost their cooperation in all these policy areas.
-Great Britain leaving the European Union might have given a new impetus to democratic ideals across Europe. Two elements conspire positively in this respect. On the one hand, the country that historically more than any other opposed reforms aimed at further democratizing the European Union is out of the way: Britain will no more be able to veto reforms in this direction. On the other hand, both European elites and common citizens alike might now be spurred into further democratizing the EU as means to rescuing it.
The historical challenge for Europeans is now to improve the performance of the southern and eastern member states of the European Union. Free from British fears of Brussels' red tape and with the crucial contribution of small yet economically dynamic countries such as the Netherlands or Sweden, Europeans should further integrate toward a dynamic yet inclusive social-market economic model.
By Guylain Gustave Moke
World Affairs Expert