Brexit not Grexit is Europe’s problem

Brexit not Grexit is Europe’s problem

The outcome of the UK parliamentary elections on May 7 is very open with two new political forces in play - the anti-European Union UK Independence Party known as UKIP and the Scottish Nationalists. Their impact is quite in incalculable, writes Prince Michael of Liechtenstein.

Leadership of Britain’s traditional left-wing Labour Party appears weak. A coalition of Labour and Scottish Nationalists could result, which would further internal tensions and place Scottish independence back on the table.

Conservative leader and Prime Minister David Cameron and his party have a good political track record and a sound programme. But to contain UKIP and eurosceptics in his own party, David Cameron promised to hold a referendum on EU membership in 2017.  The referendum would also address what the UK wants from its partners in the EU.

The outcome of the UK referendum would be very open.

A Conservative election victory is needed in the interests of sound politics and the Tory-proposed referendum should be a concern for the whole EU. The UK is an important member and a net contributor with the third largest economy in the EU. Its foreign policy contributions, its Commonwealth and defensive capacities are of the highest value.

But Britain’s outstanding political contribution inside the EU and its balancing role in checking exaggerated EU centralisation and harmonisation efforts are especially important.

The anti-EU sentiment in the UK could still give rise to an exit referendum even if the Conservatives lose the election.

The Greek exit or Grexit from the euro and the Eurozone - but remaining an EU member - has become the big issue in politics, the media and public debate. The Grexit is now a marginal problem for the EU. Greece is neither willing to change nor were the international efforts to force Greece into change adequate. To continue this process will only add to the agony and will not help the Greek people.

Greece’s previous government tried to introduce reforms, which were supported internationally, but which were bound to fail. The new government's policy is a joke. The latest grotesque proposal from this bankrupt state was education minister Aristides Baltas’ idea for Greeks to have free access, without access tests, for unlimited time at university, without being driven by excellence.

Let Greece go.

The dreaded Grexit from the euro should cause less concern. Europe should concentrate on helping the UK government stay in the EU instead of chasing a lost cause to keep Greece in the eurozone.

The real concern should be Brexit - the UK leaving the EU. This would weaken the European Union considerably politically but less so economically. It would increase the internal imbalance and could lead to more centralisation.

Most of all it would weaken Europe's political position in the global arena considerably. The UK itself would change its position from a decisive decision-maker in the EU to a small member of the global community.

Brexit is a lose-lose situation.

Related reports:

Where is the European Union heading?

Can the EU remain a united union?

EU finance: Greek comedy and French tragedy

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