Welcome to 2021 – Outside the EU

Broken Window – Source: Peter Gumbel NY Times

Many people are marking the end of an era with some poignant articles. The consequences of our decision to actually leave the European Union are becoming apparent.
Here are some takes from the world press.

This from a descendent of German refugees electing to become a German citizen rather than stay with this country without values in the NY Times:

My grandparents, who escaped Nazi Germany on the eve of World War II, found a home in Britain — to them, it was a beacon of light and hope. But they would be heartbroken to see it today. Inward, polarized and absurdly self-aggrandizing, Britain has lost itself. In sorrow, I mourn the passing of the country that was my family’s salvation.

P Gumbel in the New York Times

And then there’s Michael Heseltine, President of the European Movement, in The Independent:

Most damaging is the language of Euroscepticism. The personal and human relationships between us and our continental neighbours are priceless. We work in each others’ companies, holiday in each others’ resorts, marry across the frontiers and share a cultural and historic heritage beyond price. Every abusive headline echoes across the Channel.

In Munich’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung the right of centre CSU politician Manfred Weber sees Brexit as a textbook example of the failure of populism.

2016 saw the highpoint of populism with the Referendum in the UK and this election of Trump in the US. In 2021 people now see that this type pf politics does not lead to great results. Although the EU is not immune to further splits, the shock of Brexit is so great that many have learnt how better to deal with Europe and each other.

La Liberation in France says good riddance to UK – now the European project can get on with its agenda …

With Brexit the capacity of the UK to cause problems for the Euorpean Project disappears. Those countries which rode on the coattails of London now do not have sufficient political clout to oppose Berlin and Paris.

Fintan O’Toole in Die Zeit (in English) ..

Fintan says that rather than feeding this country with superlatives our government should listen to his country’s great poet:

Countries are much more likely to be at peace with themselves and their neighbours if they do not, to paraphrase W.B Yeats, “feed their hearts on fantasies” of greatness.

Yesterday (7 January) La Liberation points to UK’s abrogation of its duty to migrant children. You can read the full article here in French or my synopsis in English (subject to correction by those with better French):

“Under the Dublin Regulation children of migrants had the right to join family members in UK. This right disappeared on 1 January. The last few years have shown that Brexit has been a gigantic wrestling match. This should not deter the French government and their European partners from opening new discussions to persuade the UK to accept its responsibilities for migrant children under the Dublin agreement.”

All these snippets show that the Brexit debate is far from over. We have a very poor deal and we must build on that in the coming months and years to regain the close relationship we threw away on 1 January.


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