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It seems as if there is an expectation that the EU should display some sort of stability or constancy in its membership. Start with six members in the aftermath of WW2, then gradually merge in more over time--but without losing any of the originals. Membership a one-way function.

The US of A operates under that model; it was established in the 1860s that once you join, you can't leave. But the USSR did not end up operating under that model, some areas "joined" (perhaps not so voluntarily) and then later left (or were kicked out). The United Nations doesn't have a procedure for leaving (exception, Indonesia, 1965). In theory, you can leave NATO, but not in practice--so far, at least.

Where is it written that the only way to run an organization of communities is as a stable, never-shrinking empire? Why is it considered an existential crisis if some members of the EU decide to leave?

Maybe Italy, for example, decides to leave next. Fine, they were part of the original membership, let them leave if they don't like how it's worked out. There are still a couple of dozen other countries who joined later that are still in. Maybe it would be better to assume that there will be periodic joiners and leavers, and that such a case is not necessarily "bad." Maybe the structure of the organization should be arranged to accommodate membership flexibility, with defined processes for joining and leaving that let the membership list change over time.

by asdf on Tue Aug 6th, 2019 at 02:37:33 PM EST
If Brexit has taught us anything it is that 45 years of EU membership creates such a web of mutual obligations and economic integration that one cannot suddenly flick a reverse switch when political sentiment changes. The British fondly imagine they can go back to the status quo ante, but the world has changed rather a lot since 1973. Just as joining was expected to be for ever, I suspect leaving will be for ever as well. I am not one of those optimists who expect the UK to be rejoining some time soon.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 6th, 2019 at 07:18:48 PM EST
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