Brexit_post_17Is Brexit an opportunity for Britain? Unburdened by EU red tape, will the UK change its economic model by taking a more economically liberal, free market approach? Could it slash taxes and introduce greater labour market flexibility? Might Britain sign deep and comprehensive Free Trade Agreements with the United States, China, India, and other major economies? In short, far from heading for the cliff edge, could Britain’s economy thrive outside the EU?

We had a comment sent in by Kevin who runs a small business and says his order book has been full since the Brexit vote. He’s apparently even had to increase his workforce to meet demand. Kevin adds that friends of his who export outside the UK tell him that, due to the weak pound, their goods are “flying over the channel and the Atlantic”. So far, Kevin feels that the impact of Brexit has been positive for Britain’s economy.

To get a reaction, we put Kevin’s comment to Pieter Cleppe, Head of the Brussels office of Open Europe, a think-tank that promotes an economically liberal Europe and Britain. What would he say to Kevin?

cleppeWell, basically, the gentleman is talking about the effect the lower exchange rate has had on the British economy. Now, if devaluing your exchange rate was an effective way to create a sustainable and dynamic economy, then Zimbabwe must be the richest country in the world, which is plainly not the case. That said, of course, there can be cases where an exchange rate is overvalued, and you can make an argument that this was the case for Britain and that therefore this latest shift in the exchange rate triggered by the Brexit effect was sustainable and a good thing…

Now, will Brexit in the long-term be a good thing for the UK economy or not? At Open Europe we’ve said that three conditions need to be fulfilled for the UK to become a winner from Brexit. First of all, Britain needs to secure a good deal with the EU which keeps as much of the trade openness in place as possible. Secondly, it needs to conclude a lot of trade deals with the rest of the world. And, thirdly, it needs to become more competitive and implement free market reforms in order to compensate for some of the disruption that will inevitably happen as a result of Brexit. Now, those three conditions are hard to fulfil… If there is no good deal with the EU or there is a nasty divorce; if no big economy is interested in a trade deal with the EU; and if Britain for whatever reason refuses to implement free market reforms, then this growth will be lost. But it’s too early to tell where we are headed in this respect.

Does the UK really need a good deal with the EU to ensure growth? The British think-tank Civitas has published a series of reports (see here and here) by Michael Burrage, arguing that the supposed benefits of the Single Market are largely illusory. He points out that the growth of exports, of both goods and services, to the EU of numerous non-member countries over the 23 years of the Single Market has exceeded that of the UK, and argues that both the advantages of membership and the disadvantages of non-membership have been greatly exaggerated.

We had a comment from James, however, who argues that relying on the WTO without additional EU-UK agreements in place would be a mistake because “no developed economy in the world trades with the EU purely according to WTO rules. They all, without exception, conduct trade according to a framework of bilateral and multilateral agreements.”

We approached Michael Burrage and asked what he would say to James’ comment. Here’s his reply:

burrageThe Regional Trade Agreement Information System (RTAIS) of the WTO identifies all the negotiated and recognised trade agreements in the world, and there are 111 countries which have no WTO recognised and binding agreement with the EU, including Japan, China, and the US. These 111 countries are those that are conventionally described as trading under WTO rules. That does not mean that they have no diplomatic relations with the EU, and these diplomatic exchanges frequently refer, of course, to trade matters. The European Commission files and archives these exchanges, however trivial they may be, as ‘agreements’.

A good number of these ‘agreements’ are, for example, to officially inform other countries about the addition of new members of the EU. Many are memos of understanding. Now and then one refers to the resolution of a significant trade dispute, but these are not ‘agreements’ that have to be notified to the WTO, or that the WTO cares to recognise, because they are narrowly focused and ad hoc, and do not entail any binding obligations with implications for the trade of other WTO members.

A number of those committed to Remain, or to UK membership of the EEA, have recently decided that it would help to undermine the UK government’s position, if they conflated and confused RTAIS-WTO trade agreements with the diplomatic exchanges filed as ‘agreements’ by the European Commission, and then alarmed everybody in the UK, by claiming that the UK would be the only country in the world trading with the EU under WTO rules. It is a discreditable and ridiculous wheeze, but it has fooled a lot of people, though hopefully not James. It is post-script to Project Fear…

Sir Ivan Rogers, the former British Permanent Representative to the EU, argues that several of these agreements introduce mechanisms for reducing non-tariff barriers to trade (including divergent regulatory frameworks, customs regimes, and so on). Furthermore, Sir Ivan points out that the UK has a significant services deficit with the European Union, and one of the criticisms of the WTO is that not enough progress has been made in services (though, on the other hand, that exact same criticism is often made about the EU Single Market).

Nevertheless, we had a comment from Cathryn pointing out that the EU is not the world. She believes Britain will do much better outside the EU. Without having to worry about EU regulations, she believes that Britain will be free to trade with rapidly growing markets like India and China.

We put that comment to Pieter Cleppe for a reaction. What would he say?

cleppeWell, her argument is definitely, the ‘free market’ argument for Brexit. And, indeed, if Britain managed to close trade deals with other countries, especially big countries – New Zealand would be nice, but it’s a relatively small economy – then this would obviously be a good thing and one of the upsides of Brexit. Of course, the downside is clear; trade with the European Union – which still accounts for around half of Britain’s trade – would be in jeopardy. And that, of course, is quite concerning.

EU membership definitely had its upsides and downsides, and you could make a very good case that with the growing rest of the world it made less and less sense for the UK to take the damage that the EU inflicts in terms of regulation and the EU’s protectionism and failure to make trade deals…

Finally, we had a comment from Maia, who thinks the UK could enter into a transitional arrangement in order to soften the blow of Brexit. The idea is that after the two year Article 50 negotiation period is up, Britain will still need more time to negotiate a more comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU.

Does Michael Burrage agree? If so, what does he think that a transitional arrangement would like?

burrageLike Maia, I think there is a high probability of a transitional arrangement, simply because neither side wants sudden, overnight, disruptive, cliff-edge changes. Moreover, virtually every trade agreement I have read has phased reductions of tariffs, quotas and non-tariff barriers, often over many years. Of course, in the case of the EU and UK, it may well be the opposite, that is, a phased increase of tariffs, quotas and non-tariff barriers. But nonetheless the principle of phased rather than overnight changes is well-established in international trade negotiations, and I do not see any reason why either side would wish to depart from it…

No doubt, as exporters on both sides prepare to deal with each other in the same manner as they already deal with exports to the rest of the world there would be a modest amount of trade disruption. More importantly, however, the transition period would be marked by increasingly vociferous organized protests by exporters most affected on both sides, along with jitters in the financial markets. Intense pressure will then be put on negotiators of both sides to find a face-saving format that would enable something like the status quo ante to be restored, and it will probably prove irresistible. It will therefore be a transition period with a fair amount of political heat between and within both sides, with volatile and nervous financial markets, which will end after a relatively brief period of time, probably no more than a couple of years. We will then all look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.

Will the British economy thrive outside the European Union? Instead of trading with Europe, could it look to rapidly-developing economies like India and China? Could it become a low-tax, free market haven outside the EU? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – quattrostagioni

186 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. Oli Lau

    well if the EU is really about peace and prosperity, I can’t understand all these politicians promising hell on earth to the British people. There is no point to impoverish the British people, nor does it make sense to close the doors to their services and products.

    Or in the end the real goal isn’t peace and prosperity, but rather accumulating power on an ever increasing mass of people.

    • Pedro Castro

      In case you haven’t noticed, they’re the ones closing the doors… Not the EU!

    • Oli Lau

      In case you haven’t noticed they simply state they don’t want to be ruled from brussels. They never have said they don’t want to exchange goods and services. Why can’t it be just that? Why does Brussels need to control everything single thing?

    • Renato Tuveri-Ellis

      Sorry Oli but we have chosen to leave the EU, I never felt or heard anyone of the EU official ever been nasty with us because this choice. To be honest I just saw sad people, sad because we were leaving and sad because we had to live we that choice. Now, the EU has to protect its interest, not the British one, so I don’t even understand why anyone should even talk about the EU trying to impoverish the UK.

    • Darrell Mennie

      Oli Lau, Brussels does not control everything, that is a falsehood sold to the U K citizenry by the leave campaign. What Brussels does is, through legislstive practice and voting of member states ( UK voted AND authoured many initistives) set cohesive and cooperative rules for a single market trade zone. By leaving this the UK chose to not be apart of this process and union. This is akin to quitting a farming collective yet expecting them to treat your needs as their needs. It goes members first others with near member deals then the rest. This is the whole point of a union.

    • Oli Lau

      My Interests Rrenato is a prosperous UK, I have no interest to see it ruined nor do I have any interest to be cut from it. even if I don’t live over there.

      The EU isn’t an end in itself. It is just a tool amongst others to ease peaceful communication/exchange amongst europeans AKA human beings. Not between all those fanciful concept such as European union, countries and all.

      If it doesn’t suit the British people…Fine! Lets find something else. Why make such a fuss about it? I feel like the real problem is the ego of the persons inside the EU.

    • Oli Lau

      Darrell yes,s o what? Why can’t we just exchange goods and services? Why do we need such a structure creating an ever increasing amount of red tapes on silly things such as a toilet tank? Can’t it be just that?

    • Paul X

      @Darrell Mennie

      The EU has long ago given up any pretense about being just about managing a “single market trade zone”. From their own website the “obligations of membership, including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union”, add to that their insistence (based on a lie distorted from the treaty of Rome) that freedom of movement is a fundamental requirement for membership and you see why the EU is nothing like what was sold to the UK at the 1975 referendum, and that is why we are now leaving

    • Lonzo Bildelberg

      Oh but we can exchange goods and services, so long as we also exchange people and Britain pays it’s share to enter the single market. The problem is not that Britain or Europe want to close the door. The problem is that Britain thinks it can cherry pick what doors will close. It doesn’t work that way, you want to be out? You’ll be out, with all the positives and negatives of not being an EU member state. The fact that this means that life will be harder for Brits simply means that there are more positives than negatives in being a member state.

      Somehow this dictatorial multinational entity that just accepts your vote to leave it, is unfair and cruel when it says “ok. You leave, you don’t get to pick the positives and leave the negatives”

    • Oli Lau

      Their “shares” are the services and the goods they are willing to buy
      Why should it be something else?

    • Pirvulescu Florin

      Because the European common market doesn`t function on fumes, because the entire British financial sector war made to serve a superpower of 510 million people, not a regional power of 67 million.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Oli Lau
      Well said.
      The EU has been nasty, vindictive and mendacious.

      More and more Bremainiacs have been startled by the sheer hatred spouting from the likes of GV, MB and JCJ and are NOWbacking Britain.

      Britain fought the Nazis and the Vichy regime in WW2 – EU-FASCISM must be STOPPED, AGAIN!

    • David

      Oli I think you’ve got it wrong. It isn’t about punishment. In fact noone has ever said that the UK can not trade with the EU. Everybody around the world does! What is true though is as it leaves it will no longer be part of the single market because the UK DOESN’T WANT TO! Noone is throwing them out! Noone! They will build their own economic trading with the rest of the world at their own terms and the leave campaign stated a few times that the EU is a small.part of it and that it will be OK if the trade is on WTO rules as long as the UK doesn’t have to comply with EU rules and regulations. Furthermore, they said that the EU needs the UK more than tue UK needs the EU so it is the EU that is being punished. I am in the UK and I can’t see a single thing the EU has done to punish the UK. They are free to live but sure as they will.not be part of the EU they can’t change it anymore. There is no injustice here!

    • Paul X

      “I can’t see a single thing the EU has done to punish the UK” so you think the threat that there will be no talks until UK pays up it’s “bill” of 50Bn, 80Bn 100Bn (or whatever figure they will pick out of the sky next week) isn’t punishment? ..that is UK taxpayers money thay are after (i.e. mine) and they are using blackmail to try and get it and I take great offence at that.

    • David

      Why is this a “punishment”? The UK can refuse to pay right? As far as I get it it is OK for the UK to fall back on WTO rules, isn’t that so? If talks fall out EU citizens go back to the EU and UK citizens go back to the UK, trade relationship with the EU goes back to WTO rules, there is a hard border with Ireland and that’s it. I mean that is what leaving the EU (single market and the rest) means. Then the free UK can do whatever they want e.g. lower tax and reduce workers’ rights to attract business, reduce immigration, reduce migrants’ rights etc. The UK can attract skilled labour from across the world and send low skilled labour back to the EU. One thing I see personally though is skilled people going back, we lost a number of French and Swiss skilled staff in our company because they don’t see their future here anymore which probably combined with the weaker pound made their decision easier (I work in science and engineering) but I the country’s situation may be different and I can’t predict the future. So yes there is no punishment, there was a clear choice and democratic decision so get on with it right. It is simple don’t want to pay the bill then don’t, don’t want to be in the single market then leave it, EU is not important for the UK then trade with the rest of the World. There is a lot of moaning around about the EU while you can just LEAVE! Finally about getting offended, how about all EU nationals who had to listen to all LEAVE campaign crap, I have never seen anything as offensive coming from Brussels. I was ashamed!

    • Paul X

      The aim of any punishment is to be a deterrent, and that is exactly what this threat is all about, to deter any other country from going down the Brexit path. Yes the UK can walk away completely but the deterrent will still be applied, just by another means. Whether that is physical tariffs or just making it deliberately difficult for the UK to trade with the EU, it has to be seen that life outside the EU is more awkward than within or else the whole project will go down the pan

    • David

      Paul X you are again referring to what the EU can do in terms with trade deal with the UK but Brexit was about trading with the rest of the world so I don’t see why dwell on this really. If the UK wants to trade with the rest of the world no tariffs the EU puts up should matter. It bewilders me when people talk about vindictive EU just because the EU is protecting its own interests. For me it is absolutely normal that it is the 27 against the UK (that is the only way they can prosper). As to other member states wanting to leave that has little to do with the UK (which is not the centre of the Universe btw). In other parts there is a true refugee crisis which not even remotely felt in the UK so it has little to do with EU migration (which is the main issue here). There is an Eurozone crisis which again is in no way linked to UK’s decision to leave. What is going to happen from now on is difficult to tell and whatever deal the UK gets is irrelevant to other country’s decision to leave. What I am trying to say is every country’s situation is different and many EU countries couldn’t care less whether the UK is in our.

    • Paul X

      ” It bewilders me when people talk about vindictive EU just because the EU is protecting its own interests”
      Why should it bewilder you, because being vindictive is exactly the approach the EU is taking. If the EU was only concerned in protecting it’s own interests then they would want to carry on trading under exactly the same conditions as they do now, because the net balance of trade is in their favour. The vindictivenss is calculated and deliberate to prove life outside the EU cannot be better than inside

      Brexit wasn’t just about trading with the rest of the world, it was about trading with the rest of the world AND the EU… but on equal terms

      And I disagree that “many EU countries couldn’t care less whether the UK is in out” they will all care because at the end of the day some will be paying more and some will be receiving less, Brexit will impact on the EU despite Brussels being in denial

    • David

      @ Paul X. I disagree with the statement that trade as it is now should continue for the benefit of the EU once the UK has left. I agree it is beneficial now because the UK is part of the EU but if the UK leaves and creates a socio-economic model that doesn’t fit with the EU e.g. not complying with EU regulations or creating a tax haven, then I don’t think a free trade agreement equivalent to full membership of the EU while not contributing to the single market budget is in anyway to the benefit of the EU. It would make sense to me to move many EU institutions to EU countries and minimise damage from any potential UK policies that can make the UK competitive for all the wrong reasons e.g. worse worker’s rights, money laundering etc. I haven’t seen mass protests on the streets of EU cities trying to protect the UK place in the EU which to me shows that most countries (citizens) don’t really care that much. By the way the same applies to EU leaders who have almost unanimously back the position of Brussels. If this is some sort of isolated Brussels’s bureaucrats position my question is why are EU citizens and EU leaders not raising a voice for Britain? Finally the Leave campaign did state that the EU is only 15% (or something like that) of the global market and shrinking and that if trade goes back to WTO rules it will still be OK for Britain since there is a trade deficit with the EU meaning that any losses from exports will be compensated by taxes from imports and any lost trade with the EU will be replaced with trade with the ROW. Again it bewilders me because if this is all true there is nothing for the UK in a free trade agreement with the EU and if that is the case how can the UK be punished. To put it in simple terms, if I don’t need something no one can punish me by denying me that thing.

    • David

      By the way your last paragraph sounds exactly like a remain campaign slogan but we all know scaremongering doesn’t work. What is more, some EU economies are growing (and some not), there are reforms taking place in the EU and there so much more going on in each individual country. Therefore, neither you or me can tell for certain what the impact of Brexit will be on individual member states.

    • Paul

      David, there is no indication that the UK has any plans to scrap vast amounts of EU trade regulations, the logical approach will be to simply re-brand them as UK regulations and keep the content intact. Likewise manufactures of products that currently meet EU regulations will not deliberately change the design of their products just so they don’t. Post Brexit, as far as regulations go, as long as any new conditions at met, there should be no restrictions on UK trading with the EU

      Likewise, workers rights, it would be political suicide for whoever is in government post Brexit to remove the rights that have been established by the EU, but at the end of the day if increasing these rights is a high priority for the UK public we’ll all be voting for Corbyn in June. The EU didn’t invent workers rights, it just likes to force socialist policies on countries that have not voted for a socialist government

      And my last paragraph was not scaremongering it is a fact concerning the EU budget contributions (not the economic performance). Agreed, maybe the citizens will not care less but if I was a taxpaying member of one of the remaining net contributing countries I would certainly not be happy if the profligate Brussels bureaucracy expected me to stump up even more cash to keep their wine cellar stocked

    • David

      @ Paul X. I agree that initially the EU rules and regulations will be transferred into UK law. However, one of the benefits of Brexit (which I believe is a true economic benefit especially for big corporations that sponsored and lobbied for Brexi)) is “cutting red tape”. Mind you there is even a “Red tape cabinet” and one of the initiatives is around anti-money laundering regulations: As to workers’ rights the Tories government will find a way to violate those. They always do. They are the party of big promises that come with a small print. What this means is that the UK will be able to attract business due to cutting “red tape” and the EU will have to protect itself from a country that doesn’t follow EU rules and regulations and there are various ways it can do that, often viewed as punishment. Finally, if the UK is allowed to do that (violate EU rules and regulations) but get a free trade agreement equivalent to full membership of the EU it will attract business for all the wrong reasons and the trade deficit may turn into trade surplus which means that EU-UK relationship will be even less beneficial to the EU than it is now. Bearing in mind all that no trading block will agree to continue business as usual but will put barriers to protect itself again various eventualities and I would expect EU citizens from all countries regardless whether they are net contributors to agree to that. It is best for them to pay for hard Brexit now than to allow the UK to do the described above which will lead to long term damage to the EU. I do think that Theresa May realises the current situation and that is why she knows UK’s best opportunities now lie outside the EU and for the UK to prosper a totally different socio-economic will have to be followed, one of private health insurance, prominent class segregation, hard stance on immigration e.g. no access to health services etc. However, some businesses still believe that UK can have its cake and eat it and that is why they are hanging around waiting for the negotiations to take place while Mr Junker is saying that “Theresa May is delusional”. I won’t comment on whether this is good or bad I am just telling you what conclusions I have made about the current situation.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      Citing Juncker as a credible point of view is to hyper-inflate the kudos/gravitas/credibility of this most unstatesmanlike ‘alcoholist’.

    • Sylwester Slojewski

      Now we have a robots internet electric car and Common Market bitcoin’s don’t forget Bitcoins.

    • Renato Tuveri-Ellis

      I don’t believe we will finish, nevertheless we will have very hard time ahead.

    • Pankaj Kathait

      Eu is funeral for all its members it is just a matter of time it disintegrates

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Sylwester Slojewski
      Better a poor master than a rich slave!

  2. Katerina Mpakirtzi

    If they steal their colonies and then all of them came as migrands… the economy get better but europe and not only…worse

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Katerina Mpakirtzi
      The EU has migrants of its own to worry about…

    • CHRIS

      what about helping Europe during the war? what about Hitler? what about helping the french during the war truth is you would all be speaking German if it was not for my grandad? and what about the industrial revolution? what about the inventions? TV, radio, jet engine the internet, light bulb and i cant be bothered to write any more

    • Ricardo Pinhal

      A hunch, Ivan :) and sorry, don’t buy biased UK media…

    • Paul X

      ….another hunch is there will be an equally bumpy ride for the EU losing its 3rd highest net contributor and potentially creating spiteful trade restrictions which will harm them just as much as the UK…the big question is who has the best vehicle to cope with the bumpy road?………and at least the UK doesn’t have a drunk driver at the wheel

    • Vitaliy Markov

      Citing Express as a legitimate info source. LMAO

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Ricardo Pinhal

      The UK has pro-EU and anti-EU media – what is your point?

  3. Stefania Portici

    io credo siano scontri di diversi modelli di capitalismo. Il modello capitalista inglese mi fa schifo …è si libero mercato….ma è guerra e discriminazione sociale . Il capitalismo dell’Unione europea ( non dell’Europa . Il capitalismo della UE voluto e dettato sopratutto dalla Francia poi ,,,,anche dalla Germania che mette insieme imperialismo e mercantilismo ) non mi piace uguale . Quel che si sta deliando nella UE è una società in cui non mi riconosco . E’ austerità, povertà e un popolo affamato e senza tutele sociali scoppia in guerre .

    • Stefania Portici

      le tutele sociali non mi riferisco agli assegni di reddito di cittadinanza , che oltre ad essere inaccettabile moralmente , economicamente parlando è debito negativo. Mi riferisco alla giustizia sociale , alla piena occupazione , al lavoro come diritto con tutte le sue tutele che assicuri la dignità umana . Devono essere un valore, un principio fondante. Questi principi stanno scritti nella mia Costituzione e lo si vuole scardinare per fare una società in cui non mi riconosco , non mi piace

    • Renato Tuveri-Ellis

      Io Stefania non sono d’accordo, se guardi bene in Europa abbiamo tanti diversi sistemi sociali, quello sregolato di alcuni stati non può essere l’unico esempio se guardi anche ai paesi scandinavi e anche dell’Europa centrale..

    • Stefania Portici

      i sistemi sono sregolati dalla UE, dopo l’introduzione dell’euro. Vogliamo parlare dell’ Hartz 4 tedesco che ha buttato al ribasso il resto d’Europa i diritti del lavoratore ?

    • Stefania Portici

      se in una società metti il mercato al primo posto, come ha fatto la Germania , la regola è la competitività (negativa) . Tu non devi mettere il mercato al primo posto, ma la dignità e la vita umana per una società giusta. Io non voglio scegliere tra lo schifo di società inglese e l’orrore di società franco/tedesca . Voglio una società GIUSTA

  4. Bobi Dochev

    Could thrive why not? Even now UK biggest trade partner is US.
    It is time to get the simple fact that there is life outside the EU!
    UK is also Germany and France main partner does the Brexit mean they going to left this market? Then why everyone expect that with the instruments to manage its own economy by the UK government, not by Brussels, Brits going to die?!

    • Stefania Portici

      gli inglesi sono sempre in guerra e non hanno mai perduto una guerra. Non muoino ma fanno morire gli altri è qui che si dovrebbero interrogare . Gli inglesi devono vivere bene ma devono far vivere bene anche gli altri . Il popolo inglese cavolo deve prendere coscienza di quanto la politica inglese sta facendo male a tutto il mondo e rimediare . Il popolo inglese dorme ? Che fa ???

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Stefania Arcades
      Please be careful – you sound like a RACIST!

    • Karolina

      Tarquin back on the slanders and victimhood mission. Himself is never racist however, just genuinely nasty.

  5. Larry Lart

    Sure, they will … together with trump, and the good old reliable saudi, they will make soviet union great again!

  6. Larry Lart

    Sure they will … together with trump, and the good old reliable saudi, they will make soviet union great again!

  7. Valeria Tancredi

    Probabilmente no e l’Ue farà di tutto per rendere le cose complicate per evitare che altri seguano l’esempio del Uk. Se infatti si dovesse dimostrare che fuori dall’Ue è meglio perché gli altri Paesi dovrebbero continuare a volerci stare?

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Valeria Tancredi
      What a strange excuse for the EU’s bad behaviour?

      When a divorcee continues to hurt, malign, undermine and coerce the other party – it is called abuse. If the EU has to resort to abuse/fear to maintain ‘solicharity’ then its argument is LOST!

      I sincerely hope that the French-directed talks [under the auspices of Fuhrer Merkin BTW] don’t cause WW3 (remember the French [over-]punished Germany after WW1, precipitating in no small way Hitler’s rise and WW2) – I don’t want to see Germany, Spain etc nuked!

  8. Iordachescu Sorin

    EU without the UK will do just fine as long as the extreme right will remain isolated! The market will work as usual, exchanges the same and the people will travel with eash on both sides!

    • CHRIS

      i agree, and the UK will do just fine too. as for the far right we dont really have many Hitler type personalities in the UK. and as for travel well we did invent the jet engine.

  9. John Keogh

    The British economy will thrive. The EU will ensure it thrives.
    We cannot afford to have a hostile nuclear state 20 kilometres off our borders.
    If the right wing conservative party are in power for a decade more, I suspect they will simply impoverish the country themselves.

  10. Javi Gil

    They’ve chosen the wrong path, they’ll go through hell #welldeserved #Brexshit

    • Ivan Burrows


      We are leaving hell comrade or do you think the Brussels created migrant crisis, the Euro crisis, the banking crisis, the agricultural crisis, the democratic deficit crisis and the misery heaped onto millions of people across the EU as been heaven ?

    • Javi Gil


    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Javi Gil

    • Karolina

      Ivan, have you heard of the internet propaganda and misinformation crisis?

  11. Javi Gil

    They’ve chosen the wrong path, they’ll go through hell #welldeserved #Brexshit

  12. Javi Gil

    They’ve chosen the wrong path, they’ll go through hell #welldeserved #Brexshit

  13. Javi Gil

    They’ve chosen the wrong path, they’ll go through hell #welldeserved #Brexshit

  14. Javi Gil

    They’ve chosen the wrong path, they’ll go through hell #welldeserved #Brexshit

  15. catherine benning

    Will the British economy thrive outside the European Union?

    The UK will flourish in a way the EU is terrified of. It will show them up for the thieves they are. Not only that, better still, we will be able to run our country without having to look for or ask the EU for permission to change our politics. Simple example, should we choose to Nationalise our transport, Nationalise our utilities we can without EU interference. We can have selective education and Grammar schools, run the City the most profitable way for the British people. Run our hospital as they once used to be before the onset of madhouse Globalisation, Tax those who don’t presently get taxed under EU law. Bring back our tried and tested Laws. I could go on ad-infinitum. And as long as it suits our financial status, do what the hell we like without the EU’s nose stuck up our arse or noose around our neck, telling us how big a bite they want to take from our golden pot.

    Oh, Happy Days. And we will never find it difficult. Freedom is worth every penny spent on it.


    • davdos

      yep. Got it in one there.

    • David

      Someone is reading a bit too much ;) happy days

  16. davdos

    Will Britain thrive outside the EU? A better question is can the EU survive with or without Britain. I don’t think it can. One example shows the sham that is EU democracy. The Merkel invites countless numbers of migrants, some genuine refugees, the rest economic migrants to Germany, but actually meaning Europe. The EU leadership does not intervene, it takes no effective action until it forms Frontex.. which apparently the people smugglers can call up on their mobile phones to meet the migrant boats in the Med and escort the economic migrants to Italy. Can you tell me exactly when the Merkel was voted supreme leader of the EU with the power to make a unilateral decision affecting every nation that is part of the EU? She never was and never will be. So is the EU no more than a Fourth Reich? I think so. The Merkel’s decisions will tear Europe apart, and probably destroy Germany.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Belamie Versco
      And prices will fall in the UK whence EU incontinent-ists have to compete on an equal footing with Australian, NZ, USA, Indian, Chinese etc etc.

      Less French food, less Italian wine, fewer Spanish holidays…

    • David

      Well and then you will see expensive UK products competing with those same markets ….

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      …and the UK will benefit from being able to import cheaper resources from around the world.

    • David

      I agree the EU will loose some/most of its trade with the UK but why do you think the UK will benefit from flooding the market with cheap Chinese goods? Also why do you think competing with countries that can manufacture at a lower cost due to in some cases workers’ rights being violated (e.g. China) would be beneficial to Britain. The whole EU issue left aside that just doesn’t make any sense but time will tell.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      The EU-facilitated and encouraged job transfers (company relocations) from the UK to the INCONTINENT – costing the UK thousands of jobs and blighting many UK communities.

      Because of EU membership, we could do NOTHING about such job transfers.

      Out of the EU – the UK can prevent/influence such job transfers whether EU or RoW inspired.

  17. Yannick Cornet

    So much is done for the economy, surely yes, but I would not be so optimistic about the social side of things

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Yannick Cornet
      Agreed. The AUSTERITY-BLITZKRIEG imposed on beggar-EU nations is destroying lives day-in, day-out!

      Now that the UK is leaving the EU, who is going to stop/ammeliorate Fuhrer Merkin?

  18. Maia Alexandrova

    If you cut off a big branch from a tree, what will thrive? The tree or the branch?

    • Paul X

      If it is the most healthy branch on the tree it can be propogated whilst the remainder of the tree withers an dies

    • Maia Alexandrova

      Catherine Benning, you got it wrong – Europe does not comprise of Britain and on the other hand, European countries are not part of Britain.

      It always hurts when a part of a living organism is cut off, but inevitably the body has to find strength to get over the shock, heal and move on with life. For the purpose it will need any help it can get. Unfortunately, Barnier has decided to trust the Iraq war criminal Tony Blair, but that’s insignificant when there’s a union of 27 countries behind his back anyway. However, Theresa May chickened out and called for elections, further prolonging the separation agony. In any case, 27 is stronger than 1, with or without Tony Blair.

    • Maia Alexandrova

      Paul X, what is more likely to wither and die? A living tree that already has deep roots in the ground, or a severed branch that must somehow miraculously grow its own roots and plant itself in the ground? I still can’t see how this Brexit will become a success, as the vision for it is not based on reality, but on simple wishful thinking.

    • Paul X

      Maia, You can take a cutting from a plant or tree and as long as it is healthy and treated correctly it will grow roots and flourish.
      I was therefore just adding another scenario to your tree analogy… the UK “branch” is one of the healthiest on the whole tree (economy, unemployment etc) whilst there are some very sickly branches remaining. Diseases in trees (dutch elm, ash die back) can very quickly spread and eventually the whole tree just withers and dies
      ……so who knows exactly how this will end eh? ..I don’t claim to know and to be honest others shouldn’t pretend they do either

  19. David

    Maia, there is no point arguing with someone who bases all their opinions on The web page is full of typos, the opinions are very biased and it is all in all an anti-EU propaganda outlet. There is not even a SINGLE article about ANY negatives related to Brexit! Even the most ardent Brexiteers say there may be some downsides to Brexit but for that is not acceptable loool I wouldn’t read this paper even if I was 100% for Brexit.

    • Paul X

      At least there is some media to refer to when backing up pro Brexit opinions (however biased it may be). The vast majority who come on these forums spouting how much the UK is going to suffer post Brexit have nothing to back up their claims except for a spiteful desire to see the UK fail

    • catherine benning

      @ David

      Somehow you appear to be mentally blocked over the UK bests interests, and for that matter, any European state with good financial economies, who want out of the EU robbery business.

      First, your obvious ignorance on Newspapers. I read all the papers. That is how I get a full and balanced view. I even go for the Financial Times as well as as many foreign ones I can get to. So, what you should concentrate on is not where you gain your knowledge, but, what that information is telling you. Then weigh up what it says and whether it is real or fake news for your point of view. Are you therefore suggesting that, Blair, the war criminal, is not meeting with the European idiot who decided this killer is worth his time? And why would you not want to know about it? Being in the dark doesn’t make for a rounded view on anything. So, whether it comes from the Express or anywhere else is immaterial, all that matters is, you know about it. Surely?

      There are absolutely no downsides to Brexit for the UK. The freedom to rule our future path by our own ballot box is in fact worth all costs. The democracy we have is ours and we decide who will speak on our behalf.

      When were you last able to vote for Merkel? Juncker, Shultz and all the rest of the unheard of crew in that club? And, when did you get a chance to vote for the criminal Blair? How he is seen as speaking for Britain, when a landslide majority in this country would see him hang by the neck until dead, is an enigma to me. He has no authority of any kind to speak for this country.

    • Maia Alexandrova

      Catherine Benning, do you really believe that there are no downsides to entering a dark and unexplored cave, looking for a way out back to the light and not knowing where your foot will land on the next step? It seems quite a treacherous journey to me. Theresa May certainly got scared and called for more help from voters… But will this change anything? It will still be a walk in the dark.

    • Paul X

      Maia, to describe it as a “dark and unexplored cave” infers that the EU has always been there and people know no different, even I know how the UK was pre EEC.
      The UK has been in the European project for 44 years, UK parliament has existed for over 300 years, I think you will find we are very experienced in conducting business on our own

  20. Dimitris Stamiris

    british know from biggining that the all eu project is to make german ritch !!!! thats why they dint except euro

  21. catherine benning

    Maia Alexandrova

    You need to take lessons in British history, followed up with a history of European Civilisation. The EU is a baby playing in a ring they have no idea what it is they are leading to. The only worry they think they have is, where the next lot of funds in their pockets of Euro is coming from. And how they are going to go on dodging the financial audit results they have been fudging for decades.

    Every day the UK gets more determined to lift up and fly right. Like the phoenix, we rise from the ashes of a crooked and traitorous to its people club.

  22. David

    @ Catherine Benning I can agree with someone who says the benefits outweigh the risks associated to Brexit but saying it is all good sounds a bit naive to me. As to the government being elected on clear manifesto pledges I agree this is the case at the moment and it will be after the UK leaves the EU. However, what happens in the UK at the moment is mainly dictated by strong lobbies and not the people. This is what I have seen first hand. Also at the moment you do have a choice to vote Tories – which will widen the poor – rich gap, labour – that is in total disarray or Lib Dems – no credibility whatsoever. Democracy is great but just look at your options.

    • catherine benning


      What you are not absorbing is, something of this nature cannot be half good. It either is good, as it releases us in order to use our freedom to rely on ourselves, or, it is completely bad as it stultifies our future by its control. And, as our history clearly shows, freedom from outside our boarders has always been the best move we made. Throughout the centuries this has been our main source of success.

      If you go through your mind all that you see as bad about it, ask yourself this, how, back in the EU, would we ever be able to be free of their strangulating rule? We cannot breathe with them so powerful in every aspect of our lives. Take note, they intend to bring in as soon as possible, even tighter controls on all their members.

      You see, I view your attitude as naive.

    • David

      @ Catherine. I am sure you believe what you are saying. However, I honestly see very little truth in it (and I am really trying!). History can be used to back Brexit or Remain and many politicians did it so we can go back and forth on that forever . I don’t get the “freedom to rely on ourselves bit” because for me today’s world is about cooperation especially since there are so many common threats etc. terrorism, global warming, pandemic flu etc. I have a mixed background so do a lot of my friends and colleagues and probably that is why all this nationalist propaganda is kind of distant to people like us. I just don’t get it and quite frankly I find it all pathetic.

    • Paul X

      ” I don’t get the “freedom to rely on ourselves bit”,

      David, I suggest you talk to anyone in the SNP, that is the only justification they ever give when banging on about Scottish independence

  23. David

    Paul X, you may be right about that. I haven’t taken much interest in the Scottish independence question.

    • catherine benning

      @ David

      So now out comes the true reason you want the UK to stay in the EU. You want equality plus. And only in the EU can you expect to get their PC nonsense ingrained into our so called ‘fair’ society.

      ‘I am of a ‘mixed’ background and so are most of my friends.’ We feel safe with the likes of Merkel to take care of all of us. For we believe in Globalism of the International Welfare brigade. What will we do if the UK decides to withdraw the NHS from those who haven’t paid in for it? What will we do if we arrive in the UK and there is no more free housing for life, paid for by those who fought with their lives to achieve social housing for the poorest of ‘our’ people, and paid for it out of their pittance of a wage? What will we do if there is no more insane political correctness, where ‘our’ BBC actually has the gall to write in their advertisements, ‘This positions is for an Ethnic applicant only.’ Something that is encouraged by the crazed cultural suicidal maniacs who swear it is for the best of mankind that young poor ‘white’ boys are thrown in the dark hole of no future so that we can all pay for the advancement of our invaders.

      Oh, yes, that is always the fall back for those who cannot win a political debate. They don’t care about the welfare and good of the British society and its people. They only care about their benefit and their benefit lies with the EU. Your best bet then, should be to consider taking the tunnel crossing and be satisfied with what you are given in the French and German States you rely on so profoundly. Not make your way to the land of the more comfortable free at the point of use Health Service, Education benefits and up market housing advantages not available to you in the rest of the wonderful EU economic communities you all flee from as soon as you are safely nationalised there. Allowing you to then settle in the more accommodating free for all you had your hearts set on.

      Are you afraid Calais and the waiting for paradise zone will disappear once and for all, as soon as we, the voter and tax payer, can demand our politicians fulfil on their promises and begin to reinstate the rightful benefits we British had to starve for over the last century? Fear that should we pull out and bring our country back into line of the wishes of the British people, you and your friends may have to wait in line for, like the rest of us, until you have paid in as much as we to receive what we were promised when they took our hard earned from source. And did it when we didn’t have it to give.

      Think again maestro those days are well and truly over. The voice of the people has been heard and it will no longer be silenced by fear to speak out.

  24. David

    Wow so much insult and ignorance! From assuming Brexit wouldn’t be beneficial for me (which it might be as many skilled Europeans left which puts me in a good position) to assuming I dont have a passport. Finally inviting me to cross the channel as if there was no other place for me to go. This doesn’t even deserve an answer. More posts like this one will help reduce immigration loool. And please Britain is not built only with BRITISH blood…. Now Brexit will benefit “poor white boys” hahahhahahaha, but first we ll make education unaccessible and attract highly skilled labour from the ROW so the Brits can do low paid jobs and get no.competition there ;) I can see thete is no point in this debate as things are getting too emotional.

  25. Helmut

    To all the Davids and Ollis
    It is fascinating to see your simplified version of the world and I have much respect for your courage to talk about an issue that you don’t understand even remotely. In Europe and in Britain there is a rule of law and if Britain has to pay anything to the EU than this is only as far as and and if there is a sound legal justification, otherwise there is nothing to pay. This has nothing to do with revenge or any other non factual aspiration. You seem to see the eu and the U.K. As opposing powers with the eu dominating the uk. The U.K. Is afully fledged member of the eu and all eu rules were adopted not against the uk but with the support of the U.K. If there is what you call red tape, it has been adopted with full participation of the U.K. In the law making process. If you really want to know what the eu actually is you should start reading about it and certainly should Facebook et al not be any source of information.

    • Paul X

      “If there is what you call red tape, it has been adopted with full participation of the U.K”…. clearly you do not know what QMV is….. maybe take your own advice and read up on the EU?

  26. Helmut

    Qualified majority voting , my dear Paul, is an expression of democracy. And also QMV has been established not against Britain but with the Participation of Britain. If Brits do not support QMV the question would be, why having acceded the EU in the first place. The rules are clear. If the UK doesn’t want to play along the rules, it has to go. That is democracy.

    • Karolina

      Well said, Helmut. Congrats!

    • Paul X

      It is not an “expression” of democracy (whatever that means) it is a manipulation of democracy to enable decisions to made without unanimity

      …and claiming “If the UK doesn’t want to play along the rules, it has to go” is a far cry from democracy, that is more like authoritarianism


    … there’s no such a thing like modern economies outside whatsoever.
    … we are all structuring and structured each other.
    … the momento will revitalize both sides to a ampler dynamics.
    … as a strategist I tend to amplify the entropy as part of the enzymatic process.
    … order comes always from chaos. We do not pass from order A to order B without chaos A’… like a sequence: Ac1B, Bc2C, Cc3D…

  28. Renos Venglis

    The Brits will regret bitterly leaving the E.U. especially now that they seek a hard Brexit.

  29. Julia Hadjikyriacou

    Huge overseas territories tax haven networks and the unethical gambling millionaire’s, billionaire’s & corporation’s stock exchange will always thrive.

  30. Dino Boy Mican

    It can and it may be able to thrive. It will most probably become another tax haven now that Ireland will have to smoothline its taxation with the rest of the EU.

  31. Daniel Parvanov

    it is the 5 economy in the world and they have the Commonwealth were India only will be bigger market than EU …

    • Alessandro Ali Vit

      India isn’t bowing ib front of the Queen for a while…. between a trade deal with Uk o EU they will for sure prefer the latter, with all the respect of the Commonwealth.

    • Andrea Brown

      Both France and India will be larger economies than the UK in a few years. Brazil and South Korea will be larger economies than the UK within a decade.

    • Ricardo Santos Marques

      India will be a bigger market than the EU when the whole world collapses and only the cockroaches walk the world.

    • Ricardo Santos Marques

      India will be a bigger market than the EU when the whole world collapses and only the cockroaches walk the earth.

  32. Yordan Vasilev

    The UK is ascendant of the British Empire, that’s why its economy will turn to the markets of India, China and Africa and it will thrive.

  33. Ivan Burrows


    Depends what you are comparing Great Britain with, if its with everyone in the EU except Germany then yes, we will thrive :)

  34. Andrea Brown

    UK will not thrive outside the EU. They have to renegotiate at least 750 major major treaties and will be using WTO rules. If Scotland leaves the UK as most likely will happen, then what is left off UK can no longer service its debt and UK is left at the mercy of the IMF as its economy crashes through the basement of hell.

  35. Azad Maruf

    They were always in competition with the u.s.A national intrests and they will keep its average by getting more closer to the u.s.A , otherwise certainly will thrive. The E.u. s recent m.e.n.a. ‘s dialogue projects could affect that more, as expected.

  36. Beth Keune

    Even though I voted remain, I don’t see why it won’t recover and eventually thrive. I’m expecting a downturn in the short to mid term as the growing pains of change kick in.

  37. Joseph

    The world is a BIG place outside of the EU!

    Keeping ties with partners that we currently have would be fantastic and a great result however opertunities do lie outside the EU.

    Let’s face the facts no one will cut the UK out of future trade deals because they will be well aware that future support from our military forces will not be available to them. It’s a two way street, if we loose out as do they.

  38. bert van santen

    Ofcourse! Since the EC became EU, the politicians did nothing but fighting with each other about every subject on the agenda!
    The common European feeling is long gone and all what matters is their own career in Brussels!
    After the UK leaves, one by one the countries will follow the UK.

  39. Paul Vincent

    Will it thrive? Only time will tell….same question may be asked of EU….Will they arrest their decline in share of world trade anmeet challenge of growing economies of Africa, Asia….or retreat into protectionist shell….signs are not good.

    • Mitsos Daniel

      That’s why companies and banks are moving from the UK to mainland Europe. I believe they are aware the world is larger, but the fact that the EU is the largest single market seems to attract them.

    • Mitsos Daniel

      I’m studying numbers that don’t point out to what you say, at all. Neither the English pound is doing so well internationally. The British people have never been happier ? I affiliate with Scotland so I know if people generally are happy in the UK or not.
      And I’ve never watched CNN in my life.

    • adrian ekins

      The point of the EU is to bring peaceful prosperity amongst like-minded democratic nations who have been at each others throats for centuries. It is not perfect, but it is a long-term project and it is getting there. Sadly, it is Britain that is pointless, having lost its empire and being unable to reconcile itself to its diminished place in the world. Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad, and we have been deluded by a horde of dangerous Brexiteer madmen. Mercifully the rest of Europe is not going down the same road.

  40. Paweł Kunio

    They will. You will be surprised. I wish there was smoother way with Uk in eu vut if it cant they should be left to experiment.

  41. Damian Godwin

    They will go back to having an empire and the world will realize that one small island is a more important market than the rest of the entire European continent combined.Then wake up say sorry and ask to be let back in from the cold.

    • Gary Walker

      Why will we be in “the cold”, Damian?

  42. Victor Toks

    European union has been with it’s own benefits from economic policies,human rights,fishing rights,health care,marriage rights and togetherness but despite being built on openness and transparency ,it still not b
    prefect because of its red tape and bureaucracy which is unsatisfactory becoming too dictatorial in issues related to immigration and customs.The inflow of millions of refugees into Europe and rapidly raise of terrorism which has wreck pain ,unfavourable conditions and fear in our cities across Europe.The bombing,car attacks,knife crimes and high raise of illegal immigrants through the doors of freedom of movement.
    But the issue here is despite all this European union has had economically stability and great policies which has had great success with numerous economically stability which has had great success and impact on our continent.Britain on the other hand is still struggling to fund its Healthcare industry(NHS) the healthcare system from mental health,A&E Emergency management,Waiting times and major system is unsatisfactory becoming a nightmare to British people.What about our cities which benefit from economic growth and partnership through low taxes and tariff,unrestricted borders.How is leaving the union going to efficiently effect London and Financial institutions,our Care Home jobs,our farmers and Ranchers who 80 % employing foreigners which we call them ,People from Romania,Greece,etc.
    What about our Nurses,Doctors and Healthcare professionals which are in our Healthcare system.We still struggling with getting enough Nurses and teachers for our schools and hospitals.We need the European Union as as much as they need us.Our political leaders should come clean and tell us what going on?
    We are been put in the dark,most British cities in the Northern part of the country and North west down mercilessly need funds which are not available
    on our continent

    15/02/2018 Carola García-Calvo, Senior Analyst of the Programme on Global Terrorism at the Elcano Royal Institute, has responded to this comment.

    15/02/2018 Jon Coaffee, Professor in Urban Geography at the University of Warwick, has responded to this comment.

    15/02/2018 Chris Phillips, former senior police officer, Head of the UK government’s National Counter Terrorism Security Office, and founder and Managing Director of the International Protect and Prepare Security Office (IPPSO), has responded to this comment.

  43. craig hutchins

    WHY DID WE JOIN IN FIRST PLACE?? reason from 1950 to 1970 france and germany left our economy in the dust !!we lost empire a ruined economy diabolical trade union strike rate! the list goes on we produce nothing but charity shops mobile phone shops and superstores how on earth are we to compete against the might of mercedes BMW massive enginerring giants and technologies that can crush our small waining industries, leaing europe is economic suicide and i worry for our children and gran children

  44. Brexiteer

    Okay why did Brexit happen and what is EU’s true agenda.

    The Truth about EU! Must watch 😲 Absolutely eye opening discussion on EU agenda & how sabotaged Britain, shows why we have many Remainiacs.… via @youtube

    Extract: Foreign office docs exposing how Brits misled in 1970s to join EU

  45. CHRIS

    There is 195 countries in the world, there is 28 countries in the EU. Britain will continue to travel the world in the jet engine we invented to open new trade deals.
    The pound sterling is the world’s oldest currency still in use and which has been in continuous use since its inception, The Euro has been around since 1999

    London will remain financial capital of the world despite concerns about the City’s future within the European Union.

    the British Pound should rise against Euro, Dollar and Yen as it looks “attractive by long-term standards

    If Europeans no longer take up jobs in the UK, will those jobs go to British workers?
    About a fifth of all cars produced in Germany last year, or around 820,000 vehicles, were exported to the UK, making it the single biggest destination by volume.

    Who is newt to exit?

    Party for Freedom (Netherlands) – see: Dutch withdrawal from the European Union.
    National Front (France) – see: Frexit.
    Lega Nord (Italy)
    Liberty (Poland)
    Jobbik (Hungary)
    Left Party & Sweden Democrats (Sweden)

  46. David

    Surely the reason why the EU is so very concerned about our leaving is that it stands to loose £10.4 billion net per year.

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