A Texas-Size Defeat for the E.U.: Brexit Is Here

The loss of such a rich, sizable, powerful member state will weaken the European Union’s momentum and its diplomatic weight.

Comments: 217

  1. Let’s not forget that Britain was also an annoying member. It requested opt-outs for many of the EU’s policies, it was against any further integration of the EU even where it made sense (e.g. militarily), it had its membership rebate, their politicians constantly blamed the EU for everything that went wrong in Britain. That badmouthing rubbed off and gave the EU a bad reputation in other countries too (bureaucrats, undemocratic etc.). And let’s not forget London controlled room much of Euro-denominated trade despite not being in the Eurozone. They had the best deal of all. Since Brexit, the reputation of the EU in the remaining 27 has vastly improved. There is more ambition (e.g. European Green Deal) and coherence in policy too. And let’s not forget who’s the winner here, as Britain almost certainly will seek an EFTA-like deal to avoid economic disaster: The EU. They’ll get to trade with Britain without their interference.

  2. @Liz How did military integration make sense. The major countries have substantial defense industries, how would these have cooperated in pursuing lucrative contracts. How would the military be used...each country controlling their own military OR at the behest of Brussels. While I disagree with Brexit, the particular point regarding Defense raised by you highlights the issues at the heart of Brexit: economic or political bloc....the EEC (the precursor to the EU) was all about economic cooperation. The EU was trying to become a superstate.

  3. @Liz - Sorry, your "wish is father to [your] thought." Mr. Lesser, instead, had it right: “It’s a defeat for everyone — for the European project, for Britain’s position in the world and for American interests, since the U.S. was the beneficiary of Britain in the E.U.,” Yes, the Brits will suffer and eventually (perhaps sooner than people think) will re-join the project (if it lasts that long.) That's how democracies work: two steps forward and one step back. And there is always another side to the coin: little Manny Macron will get a well-deserved slap down to his arrogant ambition to control the continent. But any talk of the EU being better off without the British is nonsense. Who would replace the UK? Oh, yes, I understand Romania is lining up to petition for membership in Schengen. That should make everyone forget England. Really?

  4. @Liz The Eu is not really all that great a model to get hitched to. Their economic performance has always been anemic compared to the rest of the world mainly due to the EU's obsessive bureaucratic systems. Being free of the stultifying hand of Brussels may be just what the UK needs, if they can get a working forward thinking Government. There is not much sign of that sadly though.

  5. At the end of the day the will of the people prevailed as it had to. The UK has never really fitted in with the EU project as our historical differences have just been too great. We leave as friends and there is no reason why we can't remain friends. Who know the UK outside the EU may be advantageous to both of us, the future will tell.

  6. @Trevor Downing The UK now: No voice, no vote, no veto. We were in with a lot of opt-outs and now the best we can hope for is to be out with a lot of opt-ins.

  7. EU should ask to european citizens about any project of including any new country. And as a starter ask to european citizens if they wanna stay in EU. In France my bet is:NO

  8. @Trevor. Does the UK leave as a friend though? The political discourse within the UK and the stance of the British MEPs, especially from the Brexit party, doesn't feel friendly. Brexit could have been an amiable divorce, but it feels as though the UK has made it into a goal on its own to burn as many bridges as possible. I'm afraid that after everything has really been arranged, there will be years of rebuilding required to regain the trust that was before.

  9. The EU has mutually beneficial trade deals with Norway and Switzerland. Hopefully the UK will do as well with the EU to promote their mutual prosperity.

  10. @James F. Clarity IV The UK had the opportunity but it wanted more preferential treatment it could not get. We will see how the trade deals will work out with the US.

  11. @James F. Clarity IV Norway and Switzerland abide by EU rules including the free movement of people. Any European can settle in both countries and vice versa and does not need permission to do so. Once there, he is entitled to the same rights as citizens. I can not imagine Boris Johnson explaining to those who voted for Brexit that Polish plumbers will continue to be able to emigrate freely to Britain. The EU is far more than a free trade area.

  12. The UK is now a grade one listed nation. No changes or modernization allowed without planning permission, which won't be forthcoming. It will look quite romantic as it decays.

  13. "Brexit Is a Major Defeat for the Idea of Europe"? No: Britain was always an add-on to the idea of Europe. It would of course have been nice for Britain to be European, but Pres. de Gaulle was right: Britain has never had a European vocation. So, the EU maybe gets an 'A' for its effort to include Britain. Britain will be content with a "Gentleman's 'C'."

  14. as you say, UK has never been a reliable european partner. As long as they stayed in Europe they were "a pain in the ..."

  15. de Gaulle hated the British. Hated the Anglo-Saxon world. Wanted to see France vanquish Britain. It was all about envy and hubris.

  16. @Gadea Kinda like France...

  17. I don't see brexit as a major defeat for the European project at all. I think the continent has been looking across the Channel in great puzzlement and pity. What brexit is to many in the EU is a wake-up call to the EU political institutions that they must pay much more attention to what the people want.

  18. Another way to settle the issue of E.U. choking bureaucracy without 'Brexit', would be - admittedly 'tongue-in-cheek' - to move its H.Q. from Bruxelles to London.

  19. Without UK the EU will be more cohesive and more dynamic. UK has always been the biggest opponent of further integration. E.g. British support for accepting Turkey to the EU was a tactic to destroy the latter - EU could not have continued to exist with Turkey as a member. UK has also been open about its intent to ruin the EU from within, which is why many pro-EU folks have been cheering for Brexit. And just to make sure we're on the same page about this being a goodbye: UK will never rejoin the EU because that would require adoption of euro, Schengen zone membership (abolishing internal border controls) and unanimous agreement of all member-states.

  20. @natan Definitely agree the UK will never rejoin. The EU, however, has huge internal divisions that are simply a mess. As the article points out, the UK was a powerful moderating force in Europe, pulling its extreme views towards the middle. That will be very hard to manage once it's exited.

  21. @natan Hear, hear.....You saved me writing the same words. Independent of the Island, the Continent will be more uniformly in agreement, financially and politically. The UK was always an unhappy outlier in the EU. The Empire was and what was, was!

  22. @natan "UK will never rejoin the EU " Never say never. There is a generation of young people coming up who will change the political calculus.

  23. Britain realized what the USA realized when we formed our country...It’s not right to be told what to do by others and to be taxed to prop up other nations.

  24. @Randy L. The US is a federation of 50 states and all are represented in the Senate, same as the EU has, all members have a veto right and vote on issues, where is the problem? All the states wanted to join, including GB because its economy was behind the united European states. English workers have many benefits, better labor laws they would not have had without the EU. It is good GB is gone, they always set in for the US. DeGaulle was right, GB is not a part of continental Europe. He did veto the GB membership twice, but before the third request, he was not there anymore.

  25. @Randy L. Newsflash: Individual US states ARE being taxed to prop up others, while also being told by what to do by a federal government that is weighted towards smaller, poorer states.

  26. Divide and conquer. It’s Putin’s game and he plays it so well that he’s halfway there against the UK, the EU, and sadly the US.

  27. Spokesdude, last time I looked Vladimir Putin hasn't conquered anything. Nor does he want to. Russia is hard enough to handle as it is.

  28. @Spokesdude don't blame Putin, it was Trump and the Tories.

  29. @John Smithson Putin conquered Crimea but I get your point.

  30. I think it’s a question of how you see the glass, half full or half empty. I think it’s great!! You don’t want to have people in your house who don’t want to be there, people who spend their time undermining you! The sooner you get them out the better!! Europe needs members who want to be there, not saboteurs! Let all who want to leave stand up and leave! So that those who want to stay and work together can do so in peace without being sabotaged by those who have nothing better to do than sabotage and say no for a living! Europe should be for those who want to be Europeans, not for those who don’t want to!! Let the latter go away and leave Europe alone!!! Smaller better stronger through a shared vision, not by cumbersome relationships with saboteurs I think!!

  31. @Fread You said it. Europe did well without GB.

  32. @Fread the EU has one fewer country to force people on; in the 1980's t was the failed Turkish worker program, where nobody returned after the period of the program. Then in the 1990's the EU forced countries to take in Eastern European migrants due to war and poverty. Then the current wave of migrants,promised houses, jobs, $$, which was the final straw for the UK.

  33. The EU and especially Germany could have dealt with the caravans of economic migrants in a better way. My country the United States should have done their fair share by offering asylum and homes to political refugees from Syria. Germany has been made better by providing refuge, and can be forgiven as they offered hope.

  34. @NYT Reader Germany handled the problem very well, not perfectly, they had to learn as they went to deal with so many people very fast too, but they did it.

  35. @NYT Reader Refugees are handled by people in the area - as we get the massive majority of South American refugees, also fleeing horrible conditions, we are doing our bit - or were before Trump.

  36. When there's a will there's a way. Britain's breakaway will last until things start hurting, that goes for the EU too. Then level heads will prevail as the markets and their economies start to unravel little by little. Then the term Brexit will vaporize, leaders from both sides will get their heads together, figure out a way (trade agreements) to prosper economically again, keep it low keyed and in 5 years or so, all is well.

  37. @cherrylog754 Even if things go bad for the UK, Brexiters will never admit that Brexit was a mistake. No one likes to admit they were wrong, especially on very emotional issues such as Brexit. It will be a long time before the Brits envision reentering the EU, provided the EU still exists. If Scotland and Ireland leave the UK, what will remain will be even more hostile to joining the EU.

  38. No, it isn't. The EU is way ahead in this battle.

  39. 'Brexit is a defeat, a rebellion against the concept that working together makes Europeans stronger,’ Yup, that in a nutshell, is the nativist idea clearly espoused by the brexiteers and trumpeters. Everyone for themselves. Next up, Liverpool exits the UK citing the need to make their own decisions. "We don't want Londoners telling us what to do. And we have better football so we want out of the Premiership too."

  40. "It represents a loss of size, reach, momentum and permanence, comparable to Texas deciding to break away from the United States." No, because the UK was never in the EU like Texas is in the United States. The UK was half in, at best, and has been resentfully non-cooperative in contradiction to the spirit of union. The EU lost the hope that the UK would become a better member. But in reality, the EU lost a problem.

  41. Yeah, it's not so much that the United Kingdom was a bad or problematic member of the European Union. The United States is not like the European Union, which is more like what the Articles of Confederation provided in the early history of the United States. A loose union that didn't mean too much. In or out will not matter much, as the same relationship factors will remain.

  42. Great Britain will be great only in name. Its disintegration is just beginning. There will be no significant alignment with the US. The EU is more important than little England.

  43. I beg to differ, but time will tell. I believe most Americans have a soft spot for Great Britain and this soft spot will show itself pretty darn soon

  44. @William Perrigo (U.S. Citizen) I used to have a soft spot for England, but it's gone now and I doubt it's ever coming back. Notice I said "England", not "Great Britain". Presumably Wales may stay, but Scotland and Northern Ireland are leaving "Great Britain", and I'm cheering them on.

  45. It is important to understand what drove Brexit When the EU was enlarged to include Poland (wages 1/4 of France), Bulgaria (even lower) , Romania (yet lower) factories closed in high wage EU countries (UK, France) and moved East. A famous case study is that of the Whirlpool factory in Amiens , (labour cost Euro 35) moving to Poland (Euro 7.80) that nearly derailed the campaign of Mr. Macron. That is, wages moved to the EU average. Welcome in Poland (that however turned less democratic) and it was not welcome by the working population in Western Europe. Concurrently, under the EU policy of free movement, Polish plumbers willing to work for less , moved to London, putting British plumbers out of work. This was welcome by the British elite, that now could their plumbing in their Victorian Townhouse repaired cheaper and promptly, but not by British plumbers. Eventually, the lower middle class revolted (as we see in France with the gillets jaunes, and in the US with Trump voters) But the fault lies not with the lower middle class. The fault lies with the educated elite that should have foreseen the political consequences and installed a system of transfer payments from the elites (winners) to workers that lost good jobs) That a) would have helped UK workers and farmers, and b) would have lessened the increasing inequality that, lies at the bottom of all

  46. @Woof Very poor understanding of economics. Poles now make American washing machines for the EU market and 200 French workers lose their job. Most refused alternative offers by the way. That allows 20 mio French to get their washing machines cheaper, saving money they spend on French food, securing 200.000 jobs in France. On top the better paid Polish workers now buy their food in Polish supermarkets owned by leading French retailers, creating 2000 new jobs in France.

  47. @Ronald Grünebaum . When corporations secure lower labor costs, they rarely, if ever, pass the savings on to their customer. The benefits are enjoyed by executives and shareholders.

  48. @Woof To Ronald Gruenbaum who writes Very poor understanding of economics. Mon cher ami You have very poor understanding of the French working class The French working class would rather pay Euro 80 more for a washing machine and have manufacturing job than being a greeter at Walmart at 1/3 of a manufacturing wage,

  49. "It also gives the bloc potentially less clout." Is that a joke? The largest trading bloc in the world will have less clout because of the loss of the no longer relevant "United Kingdom"? The kingdom is united in name only, its economy is already suffering and the German Foreign Minister just reminded the UK that if it wants access to the common market it has to play by EU rules. The EU holds ALL the cards here. The UK holds none. There will be no return to, as most Brexiteers have deluded themselves into thinking, a return to the glory days of empire. They have lost whatever clout they had by leaving the EU and in every trade deal they make they will be the supplicant and not the one calling the shots. The UK decided to leave the EU, the EU did not leave the UK. With a soon to be independent Scotland, a reunified Ireland coming along in the future, probably sooner rather than later, the UK is finished. But hey, they're still great at...Well, I don't know what really.

  50. @Raven The statement that the EU is weakened is true even if everything else you said is true. If Texas leaves the US, Texas would likely become less influential, as it can no longer effect US policy, but the US will also be weaken too - these are not contradictory things.

  51. @Raven I could not agree with you more. Damn! You made it as clear as possible to those deluded Brexteers!

  52. @Raven: Agreed. The U.K. is committing outright economic suicide, chasing dreams of Britannic empire that disappeared a century ago. Back then, Britain fought two crushing wars to stay a major regional power in Europe. Now... they are walking away. The vast economic engine of European finance that powered London, as the financial capital of Europe, will be gone, along with that vast revenue flow. When the economy tanks, Scotland will leave, followed by Ireland. English and Wales - alone. Good luck!

  53. Northern Ireland will remain part of the single market, that's part of this exit deal, Scotland doesn't want to rush into splendid isolation either, while London, the capital, voted overwhelmingly to remain in Europe. Most young people never saw any sense in leaving. So you basically have rural England and a small bit of Wales left (which made up the minority of I think 37% of voters who actively pursued Brexit). If that doesn't mean disarray and a disUnited Kingdom, I don't know what does. Johnson has no intention and no chance of escaping the chaos of the deal he favored (to further his own career). The insistence on a ridiculously short transition period to negotiate the details of future relations - about seven months - mean further insecurity(talks start in March and by October parliaments will have to debate the results). The Canadian-EU trade deal alone took seven years to negotiate, and those were partners who negotiated in good faith. Time to sell Sterling.

  54. ‘Rural England’ includes Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham now, does it? I’ll let them know.

  55. @Claire Leavey Damage Limitation is correct. It is essentially rural England and left-behind small towns. The places you mentioned are cities and almost all of England's big cities voted against Brexit, a number by a substantial margin (Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol etc.. Leeds and even Newcastle voted Remain too. Birmingham was one of the few exceptions - voting Leave by a majority of less than half a percent

  56. @Claire Leavey In respect of Brum you're right, they voted for Brexit, maybe hoping for closer Commonwealth links. My comment sums up what a group of us, all former Londoners, were discussing. Like many people, one of us had to get a German passport to make sure his family was alright. If Johnson carries on like that, it'll be easier to travel to Russia soon.

  57. The big fact I didn't know going into this is the incredible discrepancy between UK and EU re: trade. The EU accounts for half of Britain's trade, which is 10% of its own total? Yikes. No way the US is replacing that, particularly since we COMPETE with Britain for a lot of products. Like, the UK has a huge financial sector. In addition to Texas, the UK is New York. Finance and other services are hard enough to offer globally even within a multilateral union. What is Britain's plan for going solo on that?

  58. The EU can start reinventing its relationship with the UK on February 1 and vice versa. The EU needs to start rethinking some fundamentals--much of what drove the UK out are issues that matter to other members. It is much the same as a couple that divorces and continues to share the same house because they can't sell the place. Frankly, the pension situation in France should be of more concern than the Brexit.

  59. Funnily, most statements in the article can be read in the opposite way. The Euro currency laggards will now need to get even more aligned. Germany needs to go back to the much closer relationship with France pre 1973 (and pre 843 for that matter). The global impotence of Britain will be more obvious. The democratic legitimacy deficit of Britain will make the EU look rather democratic. Scotland will take note. EU fisheries policy will suddenly look smart compared to UK governance. Good article nonetheless.

  60. I question this analysis. In reality Britain never really conducted itself as a "full" member of the EU. Years ago it refused to forsake the Pound for the Euro, effectively signaling that it would one day leave the Union. Similarly, it never took part in the Schengen program -- again for reasons of aloofness from the other key members of the EU. Such a policy essentially ensured that Britain would stand apart from the EU's policy of greater integration. In the end analysis, Britain was always an "odd duck" member. It was the only one of the major members which had been a victor in WWII. Consequently, it always held itself apart from the founding members, particularly France and Germany. And of those two founders, it was particularly hard for "victorious" Great Britain to countenance being at best a big country "partner" with the defeated, yet now economically powerful, Germany. As the Brits continue to maintain the apartness of their "Fog in Channel; Continent cut off" attitude the Union will now be able to move ahead without having such a "reluctant" leading nation within it. In the end the Brexiteers might want to keep in mind the old adage of being careful what you wish for....

  61. I understand why the EU has less clout. Smaller is size, etc. But do the people in the U.K. really understand how much their clout has shrunk? Maybe they don’t care but their strength in everything, militarily, negotiating trade deals, attracting companies, just went way down.

  62. I disagree with almost all the views presented in the article - all conventional wisdom. The facts on the ground point to another, darker future: Britain will continue to lose international influence, its internal conflicts will rise as a result of being free of European labour laws, financial controls and environmental regulation; its secessionist movements will grow stronger, and finally, its impeding sell-out to trump's America will cause its long-termdownfall. To Poodle-dom. The EU, on the other hand will have less money, but more cohesion and less distraction by the UK. Hungary and Poland will at some point have more liberal governments, not that those two little countries are seriously going to rock the boat and risk their massive subsidies. The times ahead will continue to be stormy for everyone, but Europe will master them more easily than (rump-)UK.

  63. @Prof Dr Ramesh Kumar Biswas >> Hungary and Poland will at some point have more liberal governments, not that those two little countries are seriously going to rock the boat and risk their massive subsidies. lol good one

  64. I don’t know. Britain is a relatively small part of the Union and always an odd fit. Smaller and more unified is not always worse

  65. How can this possibly positively effect Northern Ireland?

  66. @Lawrence It could provide the push needed to reunify the island and join the EU again.

  67. "But for the European Union, the loss of Britain...represents a loss of size, reach, momentum and permanence, comparable to Texas deciding to break away from the United States." Um, Texas breaking away from the U.S.? And this would be bad because...?

  68. Texas leaving the union would be bad for the USA because ... they’re a massive land area, have more people than New York State, have a larger GDP than New York State, and are growing far far far faster than New York State (which is shrinking fast but for the flow of impoverished international immigrants into NYC). NY is old and dead. TX is young and growing by leaps and bounds. 3 of the top 10 growing cities in the entire country are Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Austin. DFW and H are together bigger than NYC and Philly. Additionally, TX supplies the oil and gas on which large areas of the USA are utterly dependent. How bout all them oil and gas fields in NYS? Your car would be dead by Tuesday without TX oil, homes would freeze, stoves would go cold, and you’re utterly dependent on their natural gas for fertilizer, plastics, etc. coming out of Houston’s petrochemical industry.

  69. Brits will be forced to put the monarchy on a budget . The royals are so embarrassing to the un- united Brits . SNP will declare independence & the North will once again be Ireland .

  70. Turkey, especially with Erdogan in power, is a "non-starter" for entry. In time, the Brexiters will find out that the whole idea was a sham brought forth by Farage and the "Little Englanders". What happens when, and if, Northern Ireland and Scotland decide, as they voted, for unity with the Republic of Irleand by the former and independence by the latter. The U.K. will be no more. Sad.

  71. Texas-Size Defeat for the E.U., yes but the EU has no one to blame but themselves, why did they keep give the UK so much time, what was it 4 years, this is the failure if the EU its too big and it can't make a decision it let in all those worthless Eastern European countries that don't this or play by the rules, then the EU stand around wondering what to do. Stick a fork in the EU, it's worthless. TIme to end NATO let Europe defend themselves, they don't mind using all that Russian oil and gas sending money to Russian that used again them.

  72. Few of our problems will be solved by leaving the EU - nearly all are home grown. The Brexiters don't care though - they have successfully provoked a nasty popularism mainly in England's small town and rural areas, and particularly among fairly well off older people in the more prosperous southern England and less well off in the north/midlands. It's similar to Trump's MAGA nonsense. My own district in London voted 79% to stay in...

  73. This is a huge win for Russia - Putin, to be more precise. And when the history of Putin's efforts to subvert western democracies is fully told, my hope is that the right-wing populists who played fast and loose with our Democracies will face a reckoning of epic proportions.

  74. @Norman And how exactly is that a win for Putin? The UK didn't pull out of NATO, nor does it have plans to restore punitive penalties on Russia for its dealing with Ukraine. And EU and UK aid to Ukraine will not subside. A win for Putin is for Trump to pull out of NATO, which he has toyed with in the past.

  75. The article is wrong to argue that E.U. is , from a military perspective weaker without the U.K. While it is true that Britain ‘s army has a respectable power, it has not been deployed during the last 20 years to protect EU’s interests. Since the war in Irak , the British army has become a suppletive army for America, providing troops where the US needed it. Europe isn’t loosing much in this respect.

  76. The UK should be punished, not “ held closely”. Caused an untold amount of damage over an unwise referendum.

  77. @PeterH wow! whatever side you're on, I want to be on the opposite side.

  78. The fact that Britain and France have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council highlights how out of date that institution is.

  79. Not a defeat for the EU, who did their best to accommodate a petulant UK. Not a defeat, because it shows that countries who want out of the EU can indeed get out, nobody is being forced ; Not a defeat, because the Brexit was orderly in the end and all the EU members did their best to protect Ireland ; Not a defeat, because in the fullness of time Ireland will be reunited again, and maybe Scotland will break out and join the EU as an independent country. Indeed a defeat, because the UK is making a massive mistake. The reasons for leaving the EU were dishonest and UKIP lied to people. In the end, the UK will have no choice but to continue to cooperate with the EU and nothing much will have changed. Rest assured that the tabloid will continue to complain about Brussels.

  80. Mother was a McRae and i wear the Clan's Tartan most days here in America. All my life I have dreamed of a FREE Scotland. Finally it looks like it will happen. Thanks GB for never wanting progress.

  81. It is quite sad that the departure of the UK is based mostly on economic complaints, and that those complaints have taken precedence over the idea that the EU was and is about cooperation and peace-keeping. The EU has many problems which are undeniable. But the idea that leaving it is a triumph of any kind, as British Leavers maintain, is nonsense. No one really stands to benefit, no matter what wishful thinking is being promulgated - not the UK and not Europe. Actually, I'd rather say "not UK citizens and not European citizens," because in the end this is supposed to be about people, not companies and institutions. But I also think that the idea that the EU is going to experience this as a massive defeat is wrong and not supportable. Some regrouping is going to have to happen, and yes, there will certainly be some pain points along the way -- but predicting collapse or disaster is groundless. Sometimes, journalism really does seem to exist to try to keep justifying itself.

  82. The UK is and isn't part of Europe. They have always considered themselves apart from "The Continent". It was a mistake for them to have joined the EU in the first place. Living with Germans in peace after two world wars is one thing, but taking orders from them, including who to admit to your country and how to manage your national budget, are among the things that most Brits found unacceptable. I don't blame them. The UK will be fine after Brexit, probably better than ever.

  83. @Asher The EU does not have a say in how its member countries manage their national budgets. I don't know where you get that information from

  84. The major problem with "multilateral-ism" is that it can force a country to support things that are not in the best interests of it's citizens. Open borders sounds great until yours is the country with the most generous welfare system and you find yourself overwhelmed by people that don't even speak your language demanding benefits. The other great downside is a flood of people that are willing to work under the table so they don't pay taxes to support the welfare they demand, for less than the prevailing wages. This is what has happened here in the USA.

  85. Let them go - and never visit England again.

  86. @Publius England will be great to visit for its old estates, museums and palaces. It will be like vacationing in Greece, but without the sun and good food.

  87. @Joe Miksis We have plenty of those (old estates, museums and palaces) in the EU, with the sun, good food and joie de vivre (something deeply missing in the soon to be broken UK).

  88. I remember listening to the BBC weather forecast: ''there is heavy fog over the channel, Britain is cut off from Europe''. To some extent, many British never felt they were part of Europe. It should be noted however that the well educated, the well off, those who greatly benefited from open borders and free trade, overwhelmingly voted to remain. Less educated, poorer Brits overwhelmingly voted to leave. Had those who benefited from the EU and globalization shared some of the fruits with those who suffered the consequences of globalization instead of imposing years of austerity to finance tax cuts for the wealthy, Britain would still be in the EU. Brexit was never about the EU, most voters understood little about the EU, what it does and how it does it. They understood that their lives seemed to only get more insecure for themselves and for their children. They threw a wrench in the machine feeling they had little to lose.

  89. They lose bigly.

  90. Before another decade passes Scotland will have become an independent state and Northern Ireland will have unified with the Republic of Ireland adding to the validity and primacy of the EU and diminishing Great Britain to a singular state of England.

  91. They'll be back.

  92. @RMurphy They might not be taken back.... I hope!

  93. I find it very nice to have the arrogant British gone, and alone on their soggy little island. From Spain we send you hearty “saludos” and fabulous new tariffs on our wine and olive oil. And we will figure out how to tax you for our sun. “Good riddance”, as we say in Castellano.

  94. That will happen again when you force undemocraticly the will of a few elites over the whole population.

  95. Whatever else the fallout, Brexit was a HUGE win for Ireland. I’m sure there’s a lot of unhappy Northern Irelanders.

  96. Another win for Putin in his never-ending campaign to weaken the West.

  97. One of the biggest issues for Brexit was Islamophobia, Xenophobia and pure racism. The UK has done what Stephen Miller is trying to do in the US.

  98. Just makes me envious that texas can’t leave the usa so easily. Just think of usa without past presidents johnson and bush and assorted house bullies and senate deviants. If only.... Anyway, the eu will do just fine with or without the uk (actually probably just england and wales).

  99. Nothing encapsulates the EU ethos better than having its un-elected Vice President shut off a Member's microphone because he dared to wave the flag of the country that elected him as MEP.

  100. I remember the UK pre- Brexit - poor, dismal, grey. Then came the EU, the Chunnel, holiday homes and no customs on wine, beer, and spirits. London brought investment as the financial hub. As far as being “told what to do” check out Trump. He gives nothing away for free. Let’s hope everyone is “jolly old” 5 years from now.

  101. Get ready for Scotxit and NIxit. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

  102. The victory of Brexit is a victory of nationalism, anti-immigrant feeling, anti-globalization, racism, and anti-Semitism. It will lead to monetary instability and to severe financial shocks.

  103. Putin must be thrilled. Not only did he ensure that his complicit puppet, Donald Trump, would become president of the US, he has effectively ruptured European unity as well. In his wildest dreams, Putin could not possibly have anticipated such an outcome. And let’s not forget that Putin has also managed to coop the entire Republican Party into being his lap dogs.

  104. Wouldn't write off Frexit just yet, without putting it to the people... Leadership has more or less said to them: "You want us to let you eat cake, and have it too?" After their fiery response – the state's rejoinder: “Belgian waffles – on us” Seemed to just make things worse…

  105. In ten years’ time all the ‘let’s get back to the empire days’ Brexiters will be dead. We will return to Europe as we are first and foremost – Europeans.

  106. The Brits have committed national suicide. This will become obvious in two years.

  107. Fractionation is bad, except when good.

  108. Brexit is also a California-size defeat for the U.K. Its GDP is expected to get a 2% haircut. There is also the reasonable possibility that Scotland may exit the U.K. in order to remain in the E.U. Remember, Scotland was talked into not becoming independent with the promise that the U.K. would remain part of the E.U.

  109. @Alex This Scot living in Scotland would tentatively disagree. Holyrood voted today to keep the EU flag flying outside parliament. Unimportant in practical terms but still a strong statement of intent.

  110. Putin wins; thx Johnson; trump

  111. on th escale of 1-10 form bad t good, this opinion piece has to be about -3. What a one.sided load of codswallop. The real losers are the people of Great Britain. All of them.

  112. Germany, France and other influential countries are probably wringing their hands and consumed with worry now that the "most important" member has decided to leave. They will be so envious within a year or so that they will follow this brilliant move and dissolve the Euro economy and all the devastatiosnd it has caused them. It only took Britain 40 years and a lot of turmoil to realize that they could not ride rough-shod over the EU. Boris and the Brexiteers are riding a crest of popularity in Britain now. We'll check back in later next year to see how it's going.

  113. Brexit, trump, Putin, erdogan, bolsonaro...did someone leave the asylum door open?

  114. Well China and Russia got just what they wanted. A weakened Europe at odds with itself Good luck Britain with your dishonest MP who with help from Russia and others lied this mess into place.

  115. Watch for trouble in Northern Ireland.

  116. There are those that would argue that Texas seceding from the US would be a good thing..for the U.S.

  117. Putin has to pinch himself. Use the internet, free speech laws and ignorance to weaken two of his biggest geopolitical foes. Genius.

  118. Will it really matter? I don't think so. A little. Not much. Geographic and cultural closeness will remain, as will differences. The European Union is not like a real union. It is just another layer of bureaucracy on top of what was already sufficient for the larger countries. If some of the small countries were to leave, the change would be bigger. Britain leaving will have fewer consequences -- more symbolic than real.

  119. @John Smithson The EU regulations where applicable do replace all related national regulations. It is NOT an additional administrative layer. It is 1 rule replacing 28 rules.

  120. Ronald Grünebaum, my point is that the United Kingdom already has all it needs to be an independent country. It has a lawmaking body. It has an executive. It has courts. It has diplomats. It has a military. None of those went away. None will need to be created. They will all function now, just as they have functioned all along. But now the United Kingdom will not be forced to adopt as its national law anything passed by an overarching government, which in many cases are imposed by bureaucrats rather than representatives of the people. This, as Boris Johnson as often emphasized, is one of the main reasons the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union in two days.

  121. @John Smithson only a deep misunderstanding or ignorance to reduce European rules to a layer of bureaucracy. I wouldn’t qualify the ability for European citizens to study, work, vote for some elections anywhere in the Union as a layer of bureaucracy. There are European elections. That the laws adopted by the union do not satisfy some citizens doesn’t diminish the fact that the EU is not solely ran by technocrats disconnected from the citizens

  122. Good to see that the British government is finally doing what the British people voted for. Whatever you think of the merits, this is a victory for democracy. Not surprisingly, the governing elite fought it hoof and mouth, arguing that the British people are too stupid to know what's good for them, and almost succeeded.

  123. @J Keep in mind the vote happened in 2016, and was heavily influenced by Cambridge Analytica and Russian misinformation. It was a warm up for the elections in US a few months later which were similarly skewed by outside influence. This is not a victory for Democracy, it is a victory for Putin.

  124. @J This is not a victory for democracy. Russia interfered in the Brexit election just as they did in the 2016 US election. In addition, Boris Johnson and his crew of Brexiteers told an astonishing number of lies to win the vote. This was all on top of years of the British media's endless lies and misrepresentations about the EU. (https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/the-eu-have-archived-all-of-the-euromyths-printed-in-uk-media-and-it-makes-for-some-disturbing-reading/14/11/?fbclid=IwAR1uETir3eOCV6FGGSMfiO1lQe2mpsqPGjKi_-2ttkiGs-jRpeiZYME6uE0) If democracy functions best when the electorate is informed of the facts and can make an educated choice, then this was certainly not an example of functioning democracy. One more thing: the governing elite did not fight it tooth and nail. It was very divided. And if you don't think Boris Johnson is part of the British elite, you haven't been paying attention.

  125. @J Brexit is the consequence of lies, lies and more lies. This may indeed be a form of democracy -- in which case the Brits will deserve to get it good and hard.

  126. Brexit isn't ideal for the EU, but it's not a "major defeat". Britain was never truly at home in an integrated Europe. If France or another "core" continental country were to leave, then I truly would be worried about the EU's fate. With Britain out, the EU may be able to reach its full potential as a diverse, yet coherent bloc.

  127. @Abdou War It's a defeat for the EU and already proving to be UK's loss as predicted. That will affect the EU considerably in lost revenue. If worse comes to worse, people will revolt as they have. It will fall on the small majority who voted for this nationalist nonsense strangely called Brexit. The EU was formed to strengthen Europe against fascist dictators. There's no question changes needed to be made, but to leave without trying to make those changes is cause for concern.

  128. @Stan Current It obviously always is a defeat if something is lost. However, I also believe that in the mid to long term it will be better for Europe. The UK was often pushing US interests more than the European ones. They also never really seemed to want to be part of the EU (see all the special deals they had). Only time will tell. I only feel bad for the young people with wanted to stay in and have less opportunities now

  129. Good riddance! The British Empire is now reduced to a sidelined province,soon to be orphan of Ireland and Scotland who won't give up their hard won European membership. God save the queen! She will need it...

  130. @Herbert FYI the British Empire ended a long time ago.

  131. Divide and conquer -- a time proven strategy to defeat your enemy. 1) Divide and conquer the E.U. 2) Divide and conquer Americans. 3) Divide and conquer sentient beings over Climate Change. 4) Divide and conquer the community of nations over the Iran Nuclear prohibition. 5) Divide and conquer the free world over the Kurdish allies and Syria. Russia & Divisive Forces = 5 Free World = 0

  132. To employ the divisive virus of social media for gain requires a complete lack of moral values. Perfect for the Russian oligarch fascists.

  133. I’ve mentioned before that I find Purity of Essence really easy to remember, as it is from my favorite movie, Dr. Strangelove. (Jack D. Ripper was obsessed with POE.) I remember their posts. I know very well how much they support Russia and the Putin party line. And being pro-Leave is definitely the Putin party line.

  134. Britain will be hurt far more than the remainder of the EU. Americans will have difficulty understanding the vast amount of trade that occurs within the EU. I have seen the truck traffic on the autoroute between Perpignan on the French side and Barcelona. It is amazing, and that is only one minor route. The presence of a customs border now with the UK on the outside will prove to be a terrible hindrance. Granted that the EU has problems with its many rules and continued issues with integration of cultures, but it remains a huge market. As such, it has far more negotiation power than does the UK alone. In addition, we have yet to see the whole issue of a customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK play out, as there will inevitably be tracking of goods as they cross the Irish Sea. Brexit forces the North to align more with the Republic because of the demand for cross-border economic activity. If one looks at economies as they will compete over the next century, the various camps and spheres of influence will remain important, and the UK has divorced itself from others who would protect its interests.

  135. After what the EU did to Greece I'm glad to see our closest ally get out. The EU is not a club I would want to belong to, nor my friends. Best of luck to the Brits. I have a feeling they'll be fine.

  136. @laurence lie the US will be with Trump. Got-it.

  137. Feelings were the driver of Brexit. That was the problem. I split time between the US and Europe. People like yourself do not understand Europe for one reason: unwillingness to learn a language and get out of the Anglo-Saxon bubble.

  138. @CitizenTM Britons are the worlds most travelled people and next to the Chinese probably have the largest diaspara, not bad for a small island. I've been to Europe many times and its usually closed.

  139. I think this is a very bizarre analysis. Let's take just one "British" industry, cars. The only wholly-owned British car company is Morgan. Morgan can probably survive without the EU and Mr. Erlanger is welcome to own one. Jaguar and Rover, owned by the Indian company, Tata. Rolls Royce, owned by BMW. And on and on. There is almost nothing produced in the U.K that does not depend upon "just-in-time" input and output. And that includes food. All of this aside, the value of the EU to the world at large has been peace (more or less) in Europe for the last 60 years. The British never seem to grasp this nor does Erlanger.

  140. @Fred Old style manufacturing isn't that important to the British economy any more, that's why our economy is expected to grow more strongly than the rest of the EU. Services are more valuable but not more important. Our government still supports our very high tech industries such as jet engines: Rolls Royce. Aerospace: BA & Quinetiq. Microprocessors: ARM. Ship Building: BA, all world leading companies. Most American and expat views of the UK are way out of date. I was an expat once but saw the light.

  141. @AngloSaxon Old style manufacturing may not be important anymore but I'd be willing to be that all those industries you named require inputs from the world at large and those inputs will become more expensive after Feb. 1. And, the costs of those product to the EU, the UK's major trading partner, will get more expensive.

  142. @Fred In the new world the material content is trivial compared with the intellectual inputs. Most of the inputs you speak are available from multiple sources and we intend, where we are able, to remove tariffs, not raise them. The main problem, which is a world problem, is world population growth and consequent mass migration which is placing a huge burden on our health and education services. We have to have stronger immigration controls.

  143. Irish Prime Minister Varadkar said it well in a BBC interview: "I don't think the UK has yet come to terms with the fact it's now a small country... I think the reality of the situation is that the European Union is a union of 27 member states. The UK is only one country." Of course, this incensed Boris Johnson and his followers. The truth of the statement will be hitting home to those living in the UK soon.

  144. Walrus Carpenter, of course the United Kingdom understands that. That's the whole point. The United Kingdom would rather be a small country standing on its own rather than a small country governed by overlords.

  145. @John Smithson I'm in Denmark, a small country in the EU, and we're certainly not "governed by overlords" in the EU. That's ridiculous.

  146. @Walrus Carpenter Brexit is a loss for everybody with some redeeming features. The ability now for the Irish to rub English noses into their new-found position of inferiority in a way that will have the English spitting feathers, is one of them.

  147. Those numbers are stunning - 45% of all exported British goods go to the EU, and 53% of all imported goods to Great Britain come from the EU. By years end, if there is no deal (and don't expect one), all of this trade will be subject to WTO tariffs, inspections or outright bans. British products in Europe will be more expensive and thus sell less, and European imports will be more expensive in Britain, the added cost swallowed by the average citizen. Lose, lose. If the UK was ill, it's relationship with the Common Market the disease, then the medicine of Brexit will cause so much pain it might very well kill the patient. The dynamics within the EU will change, yes. But Britain has now been set back 45 years. No contest as to who emerges unscathed.

  148. Perhaps the exiting member is not so sizable nor as powerful after all. It will be the poorer as the EU will be, but the economic loss on the EU side is shared among a block of countries 10 times larger in population and wealth. If “Britain” - an invention that came on the heels of the Second World War - won’t be eaten up by the United States, it will be weakened and diminished further with the exit of Scotland and Northern Ireland. The British empire got powerful and rich on the backs of the Chinese and Indians. Without them there is little wealth to show, and I expect Britain or what’s left of it will have to give up its security council seat to India or Brazil sometime in the not too distant future.

  149. @Yasser Taima The assumption that British wealth is based on the "backs of Chinese and Indians" ignores the transformational effects of the Industrial Revolution. The steam engine, the powered loom, the computer, and the railroad were not inventions of the Indians or the Chinese. They were British.

  150. @Yasser Taima Northern Ireland is not part of Britain but it is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  151. It took a century to go from the Union of the Crowns in 1603 to the Acts of Union in 1707. From 1707 to the late twentieth century, the United Kingdom was an imperial power, of which Little England was merely a small part. Indeed, without the Irish and the Scots (and later others) fighting on the front lines, the empire would not have existed at all. It might take another century for Scotland and Ireland to achieve the independence they once had, but it’s probably inevitable. Both have a lot in common with the rest of Europe, and when England no longer opportunities for their energy and talent, the nations of the EU will be the main beneficiaries. Anyone who doubts this should look up “The Green Hills of Tyrol”, and ask themselves why the Scots would necessarily see themselves aligned with Little England.

  152. @Global Charm It will not take a century for Scotland to join the EU. Things are moving faster than it seems.

  153. "But for the European Union, the loss of Britain is a significant defeat. It represents a loss of size, reach, momentum and permanence, comparable to Texas deciding to break away from the United States." Yes, but if Texas broke away from the United States, the United States as a whole would experience a net gain in tolerance and a net reduction in right-wing belligerence. So, too, with the U.K., which is experiencing its own version of Trumpist leadership and a revival of Thatcherite approaches to the economy and to human services.

  154. @TimesChat Very true.

  155. @TimesChat For what it's worth, California is the world's fifth-largest economy, so the loss of Britain would perhaps be more like the secession of California--economically. Certainly not culturally (to the credit of California).

  156. This headline has it all wrong. It’s a loss but not a defeat for the EU. The only ones who will suffer from this will be the residents of the UK, many of which never wanted to brexit. It’s a singular and historic case of self-defeat and self-harm that the UK will sadly spend many years recovering from.

  157. the truth is that England always wanted to have a foot in two shoes, being in the EU and at the same out of it. It always voted to support the USA when these had policies that were against the rule of the EU like estrogenized beef. So it all depends to the real European nations (England never considered itself a total European country) to see clearly and go for a more intelligent and democratic Union.

  158. As an applied economist, I am disappointed that the UK is leaving the EU. That's because the UK can achieve so much more economic growth within the EU than outside the EU. The European Union is a grand vision for uniting Europeans. When Europeans continue to unite, especially politically, other nations like Asians, Latinos, Africans, etc. will also speed up their political unification efforts so that they can increase their economic wellbeing. However, the decision to leave the EU was made after a second referendum, therefore, that wish must be respected. I believe that a big mistrust by many conservative citizens of the UK and I dare add, the US, can be attributed to a belief, supposedly from the Bible, that it is in the best interest of the UK & the US, not to be part of the EU. I submit that due to economic reasons, it would be better for the UK to be part of the EU. But now that the UK has left the EU, it is clear to me that the economic hardship that will ensue in the UK, will also bring the beginning of new structural changes in the UK governance. But, I'm an optimist and is bullish for the United States and the United Kingdom, especially when they have responsible & expansive governments. For that reason, it is my belief that a Democratic President and Congress would be very good for the United States for the next 4 years. But, this may not always be the case in future. As for the UK, I'll pay more attention to the issues. But now, omg!

  159. @James O. Mboya I don't think you can call the election a second referendum,. The vote was not a direct referendum because it was an election with implications for Brexit. It is clear that many conservatives "remainers" chose their party over the opposition and in the process gave their vote to people who favored Brexit. If a referendum had been held, Brexit might may have won, but it definitely would not have had the large vote that the political election gave Johnson.

  160. I disagree most strongly. Brexit has strengthened and united the EU like nothing else in its history. A recalcitrant member who blocked almost everything progressive won't be overly missed. I believe greatly in the efficiency and co-operation of the EU. I consider it the most noble political project in world history, which has brought Europe peace and prosperity post WW2. I raise a glass of champagne to my fellow europeans and will work for the greater good of all of us Europeans.

  161. Beautifully stated!

  162. Welcome to the tangible power of disinformation. The British were subjected to the same embryonic methods of informational subversion, courtesy of Russia, that were employed against the United States during the 2016 election. To great effect. In both cases, the popular majorities interests were subverted by the radicalization of a highly motivated minority. The failure of the majority to exercise their voting rights is acknowledged. We have only begun to see this suspect informational warfare reach a level of mass destruction. If Brexit or Trump hasn't primed the pump for authoritarian state actors to further undermine our Western democratic model then wait for 2020. Red Alert. We're in an information war that we are woefully unprepared for and blindly naive to. Full stop.

  163. Too many white people are scared of brown people. If that wasn’t the case, then the Russian propaganda never would have gained a foothold in either country.

  164. I’m British and I’m devastated by the inevitable damage which Brexit will wreak. If anyone had told me back in, say, 2013, that we’d be leaving the EU by the end of the decade, I wouldn’t have believed them. Only cranks, oddballs and eccentrics favoured doing so. But anti-EU hysteria seems to have taken hold of a large part of the electorate, whipped up by media barons and hedge fund billionaires who want to make even more money. And it all leaves us without the precious right to live, study and work throughout the EU. Not to mention leaving the world’s largest trading bloc. What a loss. In the next (imminent?) international financial crisis, we’ll be pitiably vulnerable. And what do we obtain in exchange? Having to go cap in hand to Trump for a trade deal in which we have negligible leverage. Ditto with China. Maybe you guys might like to adopt our Royal Family? We don’t have much else to offer. We also have a prime minister who makes Trump look like George Washington when it comes to telling the truth. Help! We’ll need all the help we can get.

  165. @Monterey Sea Otter Very, very well said. Today I had minor surgery at a hospital in South London. Of all the doctors or nurses who saw me, only two said they were native Brits. The NHS can't survive without imported labour. Ironic, given that "save our NHS" is one of the strongest rallying cries for the pro-Brexit crowd.

  166. "Having to go cap in hand to [the loser] for a trade deal in which we have negligible leverage." ...and even (and far) worse, will likely sacrifice the NHS to the altar of corporate-pact-NOT-"trade deal" Mammon, all to appease offshore-hoarders and racists. Brexit is the new longest suicide note in history.

  167. @Monterey Sea Otter . Don’t worry. Trump will do a bi-lateral trade deal with Great Britain. He’ll make England great again.

  168. Britain was never a full member of the European Union, retaining its own currency. Sure, the EU has its own problems, but as in dealing with anyone who doesn’t want to be there (and never really did), good riddance! it shouldn’t have taken this long. Of course, what will most likely happen is that both sides will emerge weaker. Strength (and peace) in unity, esp after 2 World Wars, is why the union was formed in the first place.

  169. Although the UK technically will have left the EU by Saturday, they are still in the EU. Trade and visas etc are all the same until December. Only in December will we know what type of Brexit it is. If there is no deal the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North Ireland ceases to exist as Northern Ireland will remain part of the single market to maintain a frictionless Irish border. If there is a soft exit then the UK will remain part of the single market. If there is something in between then Northern Ireland more or less effectively leaves the UK.

  170. @Kevin Niall Where would Ulster go? There are currently a whole bunch of under utilized terrorists on both side, and an economy that would be a drag on the Republic. I’m not sure the Republic will welcome them without terms.

  171. The smartest thing UK ever did was retaining its own currency. Much of the economic problems of the Mediterranean countries are due to being in the Euro because their trade balances cannot support the Euro exchange rate. Meanwhile Germany, with its strong trade performance, benefits considerably from the lower Euro rate generated by the poorly performing Med countries. UK maintained control of its monetary policy while those on the Euro did not. The EU need to centralise fiscal policy if it is to succeed in all countries. Meanwhile they need to sort out an EU wide asylum/refugee policy and dismantle the stultifying beauracracy of Brussels - the two issues that were the drivers behind Brexit.

  172. British Prime Minister Ted Heath's aspiration in 1973 (when the UK, Denmark & Ireland joined the then EEC) was that Britain "would come to see the World through a European lens". Sadly, Mr. Heath - a WW II Veteran who advocated close relations between European Countries, some of whom had warred with one another - was to be disappointed. Britain proved to be a consistently awkward "Partner" within the EEC, the EC & EU, constantly carping, and declining to "engage" constructively with the various Members of an evolving union of European States. Underlying all this, was a significant view in Britain that "We were an Empire, deferring to Nobody", so why should we now have to humor the French, the Germans or anyone else? Unlike America, Britain does not have a tradition of welcoming Immigrants, so for all that they hugely contributed to the success of the British Economy + its Health Services, for all that the UK hugely benefited from its Membership of EEC/EC/EU, chauvinism and racism won the day when it came to "Brexit". And now ? The remaining EU 27 will probably be heaving huge sighs of relief that this once promising "Fellow Member", but latterly constant thorn in the side, has left. And, for all that the UK may think otherwise, they will have extreme difficulty securing anything approaching a favorable relationship with the 450 million+ who remain in the EU...

  173. @Jackson The German Economy in 2019 grew for the 10th year in a row - the longest period of growth since German Reunification in 1990. The French Economy also grew (but, of course, it's convenient "Trumpist Propaganda" to claim they are "continually on strike"). And, overall, the EU Economy grew in 2019. But, maybe you just don't want to respect the facts...

  174. The tone and content of this piece comes as a surprise. As a European, I don’t believe Brexit is a positive change but I find the notion that it’s a huge loss for the UE laughable. While I can understand that Americans instinctively side with Leavers - the rebellious, let’s reclaim our freedom and our rights narrative is a very popular delusion in the USA - I am still looking for the fact supporting that claim. The UK was always half in half out, expecting to benefit from the EU when wanted and avoid the inconveniences that come with the partnership. I don’t see how that ambivalence ever made them the “rich, sizable” member described here. While they did contribute, they fully benefited from free circulation of goods and services. While conservatives rage against immigrants, they like to ignore the fact that parts of the service economy would collapse without said immigration. Another parallel with the USA. I wish the UK and its citizens well but I do hope that in the future the barrier to entry in the EU is much higher so to avoid the same “half in half out” situation we had to carry for so long.

  175. @Foodie Bravo!

  176. @Foodie “parts of the service economy would collapse”, you mean restaurants would have to pay living wages and there would once again be really terrific career waitpersons rather than members of the gig economy trying to survive on several jobs including service businesses. This doesn’t even begin to address the problems created for the once terrific NHS when flooded by everyone “ seeking a better life “ including free healthcare that British taxpayers had contributed to their entire lives. The E.U. was great for Germany for awhile but even they were hurt in the long run by the less responsible nations. When everyone had their own currencies they could better determine their own future, but just as has happened here to many people looking for freebies killed the golden goose that was the middle class, globalization and offshoring of jobs finished the job.

  177. @Foodie "A popular delusion in the uSA." You mean the American revolution of 1776-1789 that kicked the British out?

  178. I lived three years in England and my family is Northern Euro. My take is this: The Brits are islanders, and that enables many things, including a pronounced eccentricity of national character not found in mainland Europe. There’s no German or French Monty Python. The age of great, eccentric, brilliantly imperial island cultures is past. The world now is all about the corporate, the universal, the global homogeneity that has made the leading edge of everywhere more similar. Thus it’s true that brexit is a longing, a dream of an idealized past where even lord and peasant bore the same familial essence, being both of the same tribe and local system, -rather than a corporate relationship, the unrooted, borderless reality of prosperous corporatism. So the “elites”, the professionals of London and Paris and Berlin are appalled at the victory of the Brexiteers. It will indeed impact their prosperity. But there’s another aspect: all these sneering and doom predicting comments! I believe that unconsciously the prosperous, well educated, corporate workers of Europe and Canada and America ... are envious. No not envious of the economic pain that probably awaits the Brits, but of the freedom and willfullness they have exercised, to choose a dream over money.

  179. Monty Python is your argument? Very well informed. I’ve changed my mind out of deference to your superior critical thinking skills.

  180. @Chuffy Right you are. I envy the Brits their freedom, and wish to emulate it. Can blue state America exit the US and leave Stupidstan to figure out who will pay their welfare?

  181. “It also gives the bloc potentially less clout. “Any room the E.U. walks into, it will carry less weight than when the U.K. was a member — on trade, climate, defense,” said Paul Taylor, a senior fellow at Friends of Europe, a research institution.” This works both ways. Britain also has less clout and likely will pay a price outside their shores in influence for their actions. At least the parting ways has been peaceful. A lesson for the US that if we continue will likely require us to part ways as we can’t even agree on the details and facts here with republican states.

  182. @Mathias, let’s wait until this December before deciding how peaceful the parting of the ways has been. Hope you’re right!

  183. The sky is falling, the sky is falling. Anti Brexit people were mainly corporations and business people who are worried about the flow of money. I doubt average working people are going to feel much change at all, and a year from now no one will be talking about it.

  184. Average working people are the first people to be affected by an economic collapse. They ignore politics at their own peril.

  185. In a sense, for the UK to leave the EU is not without some possible long term benefits for both parties. The UK lost an empire, but has still to find a role and its relationship with the mainland has always been a troubled one. As the Scots say, the English need to dree their weird and come to terms with what they are. After that, they may or may not rediscover that they have always been part of Europe. Europe will probably survive either way.

  186. Brexit needn’t have happened, if the UK’s recent leaders had listened to their people and decreased immigration. Instead, elites among both Tories and Labor insisted on maintaining high immigration levels. Hence the over-the-top backlash, with all sorts of negative consequences, some of which will likely emerge in the coming years. Sound familiar, my fellow Americans?

  187. Everyone seems to think the European Union is innocent but essentially it was designed to benefit the big players. Why would European Union be so great? Not because we are all morally minded people trying to help the poorer countries out within the bloc. EU is a people’s trading market and a market of extortion. Give small countries little bread crumbs like pointless agricultural grants, or pay for a little paint for small insignificant towns to look better as long as you allow freedom of movement. Scholarships and grants payed for by smaller governments to their students to then only seek top paying employment in the major player such as France, Germany, previously UK. The small countries are losing out on their best talent, keeping their own countries down in the pits. There isn’t an invisible pit of money or skills just because you form a Union. Someone has to pay

  188. @NJL It's also massively corrupt, as the Times investigation last year found, to hundreds of billions of dollars. But I think there's something to be said for fixing things instead of blowing them up.

  189. @NJL due respect I watched as poorer countries built highways, bridges and rail lines with generous subsidies from Brussels. I saw member states shift from centrally governed economies to more free market economies (for better or worse), I watched as -now solidly middle class- tourists began to arrive from countries they were once forbidden from leaving. I fear you paint a rather simplistic image of something that is far more nuanced.

  190. @NJL You are mistaken. It was created by countries that had suffered hostile foreign military occupation during the war and were absolutely viscerally determined that no such catastrophe ever happen to them ever again. (Btw, Britain never suffered occupation, so never felt the need to buy into the project.) No one claims the EU is perfect. Yes there is fraud. Yes there may be waste (Although the monthly move of the E.P. to Strasbourg is the living embodiment of Franco-German reconciliation and as such worth every penny it costs). And yes there is administrative latency. But all of these faults are being addressed and in due course will be fixed, until new issues and challenges naturally come up. As for only benefiting the big players, you must be kidding. Ask my fellow Belgians. Or ask the Irish, who for the first time in their history have the upper hand against the English.

  191. Britons will regret this for a long time.

  192. Worst mistake in the history of Great Britain.

  193. “But it also destabilizes a lot of the countries, like the Dutch and the Nordics, on issues like the free market, anti-Russia policy and trans-Atlanticism,” Mr. Leonard added. “And it will further the imbalance between the eurozone and non-eurozone countries, leaving those like Poland, Sweden and Denmark more exposed.’’ Central European countries, Turkey and countries hoping to join the bloc may also feel Britain’s absence.” Nothing, absolutely nothing in these paragraphs makes any sense to me in the context of Brexit. The fact that Turkey and its murderous dictator Erdogan would count on Great Britain for access to the E.U. had me laughing out loud. Thankfully, the comments are of a much better analytical quality than the article by Mr. Erlanger, which appears to have been ghostwritten by Nigel Farage, perhaps?

  194. A sad day for Europe! A sad day for Peace! Putin and Trump won, sadly.

  195. My wife is English and her family still lives there. Her brother-in-law is the typical Leave voter. He lives in South London. He hates immigrants and wants to make sure you know it. He says openly racist things all the time especially about Asians. I saw him a year or two ago and he kept wanting to talk about how great Trump was the whole time. That kind of ignorance isn’t limited to the USA. I wouldn’t tolerate it from anyone but family.

  196. I showed this to my wife thinking she would approve...my mistake. Too personal.

  197. Does Texas have its own currency , the Texas Pound ? Britain from day one, was trouble. From the start it was torn internally by the class conflict between those who identify themselves as being British (pro EU) and those who identify themselves as being English (anti EU) resulting in Zig Zag policy vs the EU. The winner is Macron who hopes for Paris to take over from London as the EU financial capital. As for those Brits, that want to stay in the EU there is a simple method: Apply for a second citizenship , getting a passport from a EU country The French evening news, yesterday, "Brexit: the British who become German As Brexit approaches, many Britons have applied for and obtained their German nationality which will allow them to keep a European passport. Most of those interviewed saw themselves as European, rather than British or English Remeniscent of the transition in the US. Before 1850, Americans identified themselves as e.g. Virginians first, Americans second. After about 1870 it switched Except maybe for Texas. I suspect many her citizens consider them selves Texan's first, and Americans second It is very interesting to listen to those interviewed and thus should you understand French watch https://www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/europe/la-grande-bretagne-et-l-ue/brexit-ces-britanniques-qui-deviennent-allemands_3803531.html

  198. Dear NYT - this article was poorly written and deserved to be in the Opinion section. Using interviews with American figures to justify the narrative that the EU will be severly minored with the exclusion of Britain is an overstatement at best. As many commentators have noted, the UK was never a fair-playing, policy & vision aligned member. It was a capricious, yet influential scheemer. While we regret the decision for the UK to leave and are prepared for a recession-like scenario, it has provided a needed reflection for the EU. The system is far from perfect, yet there are opportunities. As can be noted with Switzerland, there can be good conditions to be out of the Union, but easy to be bullied. Also, one must be sure that its own system is better. For the UK, deregularization seems the way, in Switzerland, it's a bit of the opposite - higher standards than EU (not on all, but quite some topics). Yours, A capricious reader

  199. Excellent points—I was shocked it wasn’t in the Op-Ed section.

  200. Africans are cheering the coming demise of the protectionist EU. While I have no sympathy with the jingoist and racist Brexiteers, the vile impact of EU tariffs, subsidies, dumping and protectionism on African economies has been devastating. EU policies have driven mass migration as millions of Africans are forced to flee the economic catastrophe caused by the EU above all others. It is nothing more than a mafia trade block under German domination, created to fight US and Japanese capitalists, not the union of humanity. Too many people are taken in with its fig-leaf of alleged unity. While it will inevitably collapse due to the competing interests of the rival gangs of capitalists that run each of its member countries, how much more misery will it inflict. We do need unity, of all working people of the world, not rival trade blocks.

  201. Excellent. Congratulations to Great Britain on getting their sovereignty back. Trump should announce a bi-lateral trade deal with Great Britain. With, Brexit, a 2nd Trump term is all but assured at this time.

  202. Yes Britain was an Important organ of the EU. But the EU will stay a well functioning well and growing body. On the other hand: how well does an organ survive without a body?

  203. This is a huge loss for the UK. Goodbye Northern Ireland. Then goodbye Scotland. I hope the Little Englanders are proud of themselves.

  204. Farewell, UK. If you should ever change your mind, we will gladly welcome you back to our European family. In the long run, nothing can separate what belongs together.

  205. A defeat for the European Union, but a major victory for Vladimir Putin. What is happening in England seems to be an ominous sign for what may just come to the United States. The actors in Parliament seem to be mirror images of our Republican-led Senate, perhaps just not as corrupt and amoral. Boris Johnson and Donald Trump with their phobias against globalization and for nationalism - or rather, nativism - are brothers in not only looks and demeanor but also in character, but again the former seems to not be so entrenched in a viper's pit as the latter. Meanwhile Putin must be dancing the Barynya thinking of his next puppet and conquest. You guessed it, "home sweet home." Think about it: Our waning democracy may not even be allowed to have witnesses in a trial. How's that for autocratic rule.

  206. Mr Erlanger is mistaken if he blames the EU for the fact that one of its member states has committed political and economic suicide. The UK made this decision against the wishes of all members of the EU and must accept sole responsibility for its consequences. The truly unfortunate thing is that the UK made their decision on the basis of ignorance and fraud. Leavers mistakenly believed that their country could be made great again and they were encouraged in this by a leave campaign which was based on lies and fraud. An interesting point is that immigration was a huge issue in the referendum but has since largely disappeared as an issue of public concern. The leave campaign have now taken over the government of the UK but have betrayed their allies in Northern Ireland by splitting off Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, and they have alienated the people of Scotland who are likely to vote for independence in the next number of years.

  207. “[T]he loss of Britain...represents a loss of size, reach, momentum and permanence, comparable to Texas deciding to break away from the United States.” The fortuitous loss of the rebel states after Lincoln’s election allowed the United States Congress and the President of the United States to finally proceed with the Transcontinental Railroad, the Homestead Act, Land Grant Colleges, and the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution. It may therefore be said that the loss of not only Texas, but also Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee, produced a burst of progressive governance not repeated until the New Deal. Maybe the European Union can do more, not less, after they have cut out the English cancer.

  208. The surrender of all national priorities to the whims of those disinterested or even in conflict with the interests of the citizens of any member of the EU was a mistake. Mandated policies and taxation that are detrimental to the goals of voters are still consistently being demanded by bureaucrats in Brussels for the benefit of the power of the bureaucrats over the people of European countries. Britain is better off out of the EU.

  209. The nice part about the brexit is that the people who wanted it will always think they are better off even when they are not. Just like Trump voters they don't live in the real world. So they will be happy to be in decline just as middle america is. I am glad they finally got around to it. The end of the evil British empire is a good thing.

  210. We learned in the 1920-30's that disunion, brings disharmony, brings confrontation, brings war. Russia foments insurrection in its former states. Iran and a variety of disenfranchised groups have ripped the Mideast apart with America's blessing and instigation. China is developing African and South American nations. North Korea is, well, North Korea. The beacon of hope for the world, America, is busy isolating itself and guarding its borders from who knows what. Britain follows suite. I think bad things will happen sooner than we think. Too many of the agreements that held our world together past World War Two are collapsing too quickly. I think our governments are not up to the task of making good decisions for the future of the world. For Gods sake, in America they can't even admit to climate change, or focus on a sensible, humanitarian immigration policy. Nothing good is coming.

  211. "It represents a loss of size, reach, momentum and permanence, comparable to Texas deciding to break away from the United States." Explain to me, please, why Texas deciding to break away from the United States would be a bad thing?

  212. I think EU is better off with Britain. Britain belongs to United States due to language and cultural similarities. I hope someday we integrate Britain as 51st state.

  213. The real winner of course is Vladimir Putin. With the weakening of all Europe he believes he strengthens Russia. In reality he doesn’t strengthen anything but it plays well politically for his plan to be president for life.

  214. Texas-Size defeat for the E. U.? I think that England will suffer more from Brexit than will the E. U. Ten years from now the English will look back and see that Brexit was a terrible mistake. Best wishes.

  215. Why does the author assume that it is a defeat for the EU? It looks to me like a self-own on the part of Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, and the rest of the Brexit faction. England (and it will just England once the Irish and the Scots have voted to stay in the EU) hereby become a less attractive place to live and do business, less attractive for trade, etc. The English people will be poorer, sicker, and less free. This looks like a loss for England and a win for continental Europe as they absorb the trade, financial services, highly skilled immigrants, etc. that will no longer be going to England.

  216. "Italexit" sounds horrible. Better names for this bad idea are "Exitalia" and "Divorzio all'inglese."