Letting the British go

We had this coming for a long time. At times, many of us even wished for it to arrive already, the day of finally waving them goodbye, if only to be done with it. Such a nuisance they were, always droning on about sovereignty and how special they were and squeezing the rest of us for concessions only to opt out in the last moment anyway.

And yet, now as it’s there, I can’t help it: I am kind of sad to see us Europeans part ways with the British.

And it looks as if they, now finding themselves all isolated, have second thoughts, too, at least some of them. It’s probably typical for divorces. The day the other is gone for good is when the tender feelings return.

First, I surprise myself by thinking that a strong economically liberal voice in Europe might not be such a bad thing after all. Uncontested big government consensus all over Europe, with nobody left to speak for breathing space for the individual? Call me a bloody neoliberal, but I find that thought somewhat scary.

Second, I don’t feel very comfortable seeing European leaders refuse to shake hands with each other. Getting beyond that childish kind of behaviour was part of what the EU was all about, wasn’t it?

But my main point of concern is about governance: How will this 17-plus-members fiscal union split off from the 27-members EU be governed? I don’t see how the commission and the parliament, being EU institutions, can go on working for the new fiscal union against the expressed will of a member state, particularly since those two bodies thems...

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