Britain is now leaving the EU, but it will remain part of the European family.
Before 7:00 CET this morning, it was already clear: Britain has voted to leave the European Union. With a knife-edge majority of 52% to 48% predicted, it now falls to the UK government to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and begin secession negotiations with Brussels and the 27 other national capitals.
This result is clearly deeply disappointing for all of us who support the European project. Ever since David Cameron first announced the referendum in 2013, the Project for Democratic Union has been arguing that it is far too early for the British people to make a realistic judgement on the future of their EU membership. Nevertheless, we must deal with the facts as they stand. First, we cannot allow the British vote to create a domino effect that jeopardises the wider European project. Second, we must recognise that Britain and the EU have a key mutual interest in continued close relations.
Secession will not take place for several years yet, the greatest logistical question being how to disentangle 43 years of British and European legislation. However, the coming weeks and months will be crucial in determining the tone of the post-Brexit political terrain across the continent. Despite the result, the PDU’s agenda has not changed: we want to see a Eurozone federal state with Britain as, in the words of Winston Churchill, a close “friend and sponsor”. Britain may have left the EU, but it is irrevocably part of Europe. We must now have the courage to imagine the best possible future for both parties.
Image ‘currencies’ courtesy of pixabay