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There are two different scenarios to consider:

  1. The UK leaves the EU, but the EU remains.

  2. The EU disintegrates.

In the first scenario, the UK is basically a glorified version of Iceland, except that they've managed to piss off everybody nearby, except the Americans (who treat them like a disposable landing strip today...), whereas Iceland can still draw on Nordic solidarity.

The second scenario would seriously destabilise Europe, probably to the point of igniting at least a couple of minor wars, and quite possibly a major one.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 06:27:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS: In the first scenario, the UK is basically a glorified version of Iceland, except that they've managed to piss off everybody nearby, except the Americans (who treat them like a disposable landing strip today...), whereas Iceland can still draw on Nordic solidarity.

Well then too bad for the UK, with sympathies to Euro-philes who live there.

JakeS: The second scenario would seriously destabilise Europe, probably to the point of igniting at least a couple of minor wars, and quite possibly a major one.

I supposed that this scenario was so unlikely as to be not worth worrying about.  Are you saying that UK withdrawal could encourage other countries to withdraw as well?  Or that the EU without the UK would not be able to sustain itself (administratively, financially, economically, whatever)?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 06:47:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I supposed that this scenario was so unlikely as to be not worth worrying about.

Well, that's true. So the selling point for the UK would not so much be "Europe will disintegrate into bloody, messy wars without the UK in the EU" as "Iceland is not in the EU. Ireland is in the EU. Which one would you guys prefer to be?"

But of course that argument cannot hope to be effective if the British still labour under the delusion that the UK is a serious world power.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 07:11:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
except the Americans (who treat them like a disposable landing strip today...)

Now that's not fair.  We use them for moral cover, too.

And, anyway, it's not like we treat them as a disposable landing strip for the same reason anymore.  It's just that the President knows the PM is Dead Man Walking, so we reckon we might as well cosy up to Merkel and Sarko.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 07:11:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
In the first scenario, the UK is basically a glorified version of Iceland, except that they've managed to piss off everybody nearby
And a lot of people within (only the English nationalist would be happy).

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 03:50:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But turkeys don't vote for thanksgiving. One of the kinda crucial points about the British strategic picture is that nobody would take them seriously if they weren't in the Union.

But I just thought of an exceedingly nasty scenario: What if a couple of the kingdoms secede and petition the EU for membership. Now that would be a nasty flash point. Imagine the reaction of a Tory government that had just pulled out of the EU to Wales and Scotland seceding and sending a polite "can we join, pretty please?" letter to Bruxelles.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 04:56:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We discussed these kinds of scenarios in 2006/7.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 05:01:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In all likelihood, if the UK tries to leave, this is exactly what will happen.

Which would be perfectly ironic - the UK breaking up completely because it refuses to give up some of its sovereignty by joining the EU.

It would also put Northern Ireland in an interesting position.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 08:50:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I must work out whether Sinn Fein are anti-EU or what. They opposed Lisbon and so on, but I forget on what basis.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 09:11:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, they're not too bad: http://www.sinnfein.ie/eu-affairs
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 11:48:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See:


The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 09:19:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scenario 1 (The UK leaves the EU, but the EU remains) should probably be split in at least 2 sub-scenarios:

  • the EU remains, and the UK is a quasi-member à la Switzerland/Norway/EEA (ie, most of the regulations and ease of access remain); or

  • the EU remains, and starts treating the UK like a foreign country, like the US is treated, for instance(ie no access to EU passport lines, to intra-EU trade rules, etc...).


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 11:44:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris: the EU remains, and the UK is a quasi-member à la Switzerland/Norway/EEA (ie, most of the regulations and ease of access remain)

at a cost:

What if we Left the European Union? | BERR

If we wished to continue trading with the EU - for example as a member of European Free Trade Area (EFTA ) (like Switzerland) or the European Economic Area (EEA) (like Norway) - we would still have to comply with EU laws, while having no say in negotiating them.  We might even have to keep up contributions to the EU budget as the price of continued access to the Single Market, but get nothing in return.


Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 11:54:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fact id swiss is joining the EU just because of this... And the rest will follow. Even the UKIP fanatic on TV the other day said he would keep the good sides of the EU, before driving off in his white BMW Z4 roadster... It was hilarious.

Patrice Ayme Patriceayme.com Patriceayme.wordpress.com http://tyranosopher.blogspot.com/
by Patrice Ayme on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 11:36:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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