That was June 23, 2016. It will still take time to measure the consequences of the British divorce, but Europeans seem to have turned the page since the agreement was signed six months ago. However, the economic loss on both sides of the channel is more important than the symbol of Europe without the United Kingdom.
This week marks the fifth anniversary of Brexit, the referendum that has cast doubt on the European Union and led to endless discussions. European citizens have witnessed these long years of debate, but what do they think today? Euro News and the polling institute Redfield & Wilton Strategies examined four countries. As a result, a majority in France (52%), Spain (50%), Germany (51%) and Italy (60%) believe that Brexit has not improved or worsened the EU.
In France, even 17% of people think it has had a positive effect, while a quarter of Spaniards think the opposite: the European Union has experienced a major recession. One-third of the people in question agreed that the EU was imposing sanctions on the United Kingdom, which had monopolized the European authorities for years. This sentiment has always been very favorable among Europeans, especially among the Spaniards, for the idea of a European community. One clear point reflects this change: the majority of French, German, Italian and Spanish taxpayers think it is now common for British people buying holiday homes in the European Union to pay extra taxes.
The British believe in “business as usual”
In the UK, the agreement on future relations between London and the European Union has not changed much. Yet more than 400 finance companies have left the country because of Kovid. One trillion pounds of assets migrated to other financial centers, including Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris, and the city lost its monopoly on the stock exchanges. Deliveries of many products between the continent and England are delayed, fishing in the North Sea remains a very sensitive subject, the red tape has increased, and now it is necessary to obtain a visa for Europe. Relations with Ireland became more complicated. Scotland’s desire for independence is stronger than ever.
Has English been used for five years of instability? Did British caffeine and pride exacerbate concerns? While the Kovid crisis may be seen as more serious, the consequences of this crisis will be endless. The EU estimates this winter that Brexit will cost the EU half a PIP point and by the end of 2022 it will cost the United Kingdom more than two points.