Friday, 16 September 2016

Donald Tusk finally concedes EU's role in Brexit




European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker grabbed headlines in his 'State of the Union'  speech with carrots of internet connectivity. He promised universal 5G internet connection for all Europeans by 2020. He also laid into Britain's decision to leave the union as a result of 40 years of lies from British politicians. But it was Donald Tusk's comments that were most telling. Could it be that the EU might be ready to consider its own failings as a root cause of widespread discourse in the European project and even Brexit.


The huge backlash against Britain's decision to invoke the Lisbon treaty and retire from the bloc may still be evident but it is finally giving way to more constructive consideration of why it happened. In my humble opinion it is only in that question 'why' can any progress be made, ignoring it will doom Europe to a cycle of repeated mistakes and eventually its demise. UK may suffer as a result of its decision but did the British people make the right choice for the wrong reasons.

Donald Tusk in an interview outside the EU summit in Bratislava (that UK were not invited to) urged EU leaders to take a "sober and brutally honest" look at EU's problems. This is an attitude that has only appeared since the UK referendum. Bolstered by this brave or reckless move (depending on your view) other member states have begun in/out discussions. 

On my tour of Europe this summer, I went through 11 EU countries and saw partially closed borders and heard constant dissatisfaction with the Union. Some even expressed envy at UK's decision. 

There are huge benefits to Europe standing together on the world stage and a key role for UK in that but the European commission needs to get over itself and start serving its citizens and not its own political agendas. I'm not supporting the rise in popularism that is gaining momentum pandering to popular fears and whims. 

Let us not forget that losing the UK will have significant impact on EU. The UK was the second largest contributor to EU as well as its financial, services and technology industries. If EU doesn't look very hard and long at itself it could trip into hole that it can't get out of. 

    

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