On 23 June the UK voted to leave the European Union by 52% to 48%, an unexpected result which has divided the country and sent shockwaves around the world.
The idealism of the European project was epitomised in the clasped hands of Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President Francois Mitterrad at a ceremony at Doauamont cemetery in Verdun in 1984: it was a symbol of reconciliation. The European single market and, later, the European single currency were parts of a common project towards an ever stronger union.
For Britain the EU has been an opportunity to increase prosperity and improve diplomatic
relations, but unlike its EU partners Britain has held apart from the integrationists
refusing to join Europe’s common currency project. According to the British newspaper The Times, a currency union brings stresses, and hence political
discord, if it yokes together countries with widely diverging economic fundamentals. Andrew Lilico, a British economist at the consulting firm Europe Economics, supports this thesis arguing that “the euro has been an economic disaster” bringing Greece and other indebted economies into recession.
This view explains why British voters opted to depart from the Union: partly out of frustration over its costs.
After four months since that historical date a significant portion of the British people is crying over spilled milk in the belief that leaving the EU is a terrible mistake and Britain must stay in the single market.
Many economists before the referendum had predicted an immediate and significant impact on the UK economy and consumer confidence should the country vote to leave the EU. So far, such predictions have proved to be wrong.
The failure, though, is supported by relevant evidence: there has been a decline in confidence in the small business sector.
The pound has fallen dramatically: it is a positive sign for the exporters but it makes holidays more expensive for Brits who wish to go abroad and it also increases import costs for manufactures.
Furthermore, the European single market provides huge benefits in freeing trade from tariff and non-tariff barriers.
Leaving the EU has brought a blur in the UK, so that skills and strong determination are required from the government if it does not want Britain to become isolated.