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Brexit en het mondiale machtsevenwicht

CAMBRIDGE – Groot-Brittannië is in 1973 lid geworden van wat later zou uitgroeien tot de Europese Unie. Dit jaar zal het land op 23 juni een referendum houden over de vraag of het weer uit de EU moet stappen. Is dat wel een goed idee?

Recente opiniepeilingen duiden op een in twee min of meer even grote kampen verdeeld electoraat. Premier David Cameron beweert dat de concessies die hij heeft verkregen van de Britse EU-partners de zorgen zouden moeten wegnemen over een soevereiniteitsverlies aan Brussel en een instroom van buitenlandse werknemers uit Oost-Europa. Maar Camerons Conservatieve Partij en zijn eigen kabinet zijn diepgaand verdeeld, terwijl de populistische burgemeester van Londen, Boris Johnson, zich heeft geschaard bij de aanhangers van een Britse exit.

De kwestie van de kosten en baten van het Britse lidmaatschap van de EU verdeelt ook de Britse pers. Veel populaire kranten en tijdschriften steunen een “Brexit,” terwijl de financiële pers het voortduren van het EU-lidmaatschap bepleit. De Economist wijst er bijvoorbeeld op dat zo'n 45% van de Britse export naar andere EU-landen gaat, en dat het klimaat voor onderhandelingen over een handelsovereenkomst na een mogelijke Brexit waarschijnlijk ernstig bekoeld zal zijn.

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