Bryn Lennon/ Getty Images

Van de Brexit naar de toekomst

NEW YORK – Het zal Groot-Brittannië, Europa en de hele wereld lange tijd kosten om de volledige implicaties van de Britse “Brexit” te verwerken. De meest diepgaande gevolgen zullen uiteraard afhangen van de reactie van de Europese Unie op de Britse terugtreding. De meeste mensen gingen er aanvankelijk vanuit dat de EU “haar neus niet zal afhakken om haar gezicht te sparen”: een vriendschappelijke scheiding lijkt immers in ieders belang. Maar zo'n scheiding kan – zoals dat zo vaak het geval is – met veel complicaties gepaard gaan.

De voordelen van de handels- en economische integratie tussen Groot-Brittannië en de EU zijn wederzijds, en als de EU haar geloof in een nauwere economische integratie serieus zou nemen, zouden haar leiders proberen ook in de nieuwe omstandigheden de nauwst mogelijke banden te verzekeren. Maar Jean-Claude Juncker, de Luxemburgse architect van enorme belastingontduikingsprogramma's voor bedrijven, en nu president van de Europese Commissie, kiest voor de harde lijn: “Eruit betekent eruit,” zegt hij.

Die reactie is misschien begrijpelijk, gezien het feit dat Juncker straks de geschiedenis in zou kunnen gaan als de persoon die leiding heeft gegeven aan de eerste fase van ontbinding van de EU. Hij betoogt dat, om andere landen ervan te weerhouden zich af te scheiden, de EU bikkelhard moet zijn en Groot-Brittannië weinig méér moet geven dan waar het land recht op heeft op grond van de geldende WHO-overeenkomsten.

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