“The EU has to make itself attractive” in the wake of Brexit

Juncker investment plan in SpainPresident EC Jean Claude Juncker

“The EU has to make itself attractive” in the wake of Brexit. Brussels is trying to force London to accelerate its departure process “as soon as possible, despite how painful that may be,” according to European Commission President Jean Claude Junker. During the European Summit on Tuesday, the the scenario for the new EU with 27 Member States will be presented.

All the governments minus the UK will analyse the next legal and political steps after the eurosceptics’ victory in the referendum by a little over one million votes. This will be done in a parallel meeting during the Summit. Article 50 of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty envisages that a Member State will request “its unilateral and voluntary withdrawal.”

But UK Prime Minister David Cameron will not resign until October, which could put the brakes on the disconnection process. “Any kind of delay would unecessarily prolong the uncertainty,” three of the four EU presidents have jointly said.

“We should not be so pessimistic. There is no doubt that there are a lot of risks at stake, but ahead of the challenges for the UK and the EU, both parties need to reach an agreement,” Pieter Cleep tells The Corner.

The Brussels’ head of think-tank Open Europe explains that the EU should start the debate now “to regain its popularity and make itself attractive.”

“It should limit itself to those activities which people like, for example trade or the movement of people within borders,” says Cleep. He highlights people’s rejection over how the economic crisis has been managed. “People don’t like the fact that Brussels interferes with national budgets or macromanages the refugee situation.”

Brussels’ priority is now to contain the Brexit wave, and speed up the UK’s departure without other countries following suit. And to avoid a situation where Britain’s serious wound becomes a mortal one. This historic moment does not call for “hysterical reactions,” according to European Council President Donald Tusk.

The ECB had its Brexit contingency plan ready several weeks ago, “particularly injections of liquidity,” in the words of Benoit  Coeuré, a member of its Executive Board. This Friday Frankfurt has said that “it is keeping a close control on the financial markets” and that it would be prepared to take action.

The first reaction in Brussels was from the UK conservative party, within the Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament.

Its leader, the Tory Syed Kamall, says Brexit is “a warning shot” from the British people to the EU.

“They are concerned about the long-term economic impact of being part of an EU anchored in the eurozone, which is destroying employment and top quality jobs,” the politician said first thing this morning.

For the Tories in Brussels, their fellow citizens have discounted this Friday’s stock market shock, as well as the fact that Brexit will push the UK into recession this year or in 2017.


About the Author

Alexandre Mato
Alexandre Mato covers European affairs from Brussels. Former Editor in-chief of Cierre de Mercados, he was the first ever editor on Spanish TV appointed under the age of 30. He has a degree in Journalism and a postgraduate in International Relations, both from Universidad Complutense de Madrid.