The road to Brexit

With the referendum approaching, British voters are making up their minds about the possibility of Brexit. The Economist argues that Britons need facts to make a sensible and responsible choice, but unfortunately facts are hard to find. Not only it is impossible to know with certainty what would happen post-Brexit, but such uncertainty also allows all political sides to distort, exaggerate and make up their own facts. In this circumstance, it is important to understand the reasons parties at dispute hold. Jason Heyes, on Social Europe, argues that Brexit would be bad for employment rights. Indeed, a substantial number of them have been introduced in the UK thanks to EU legislation. So, it is important to remember not only that British workers have gained a lot from EU membership, but also that in the case of Brexit it is not clear what will happen in this respect. James Cartlidge, on Conservative home, claims that Britain should remain in the Union because of sovereignty. Indeed, departing is a gamble, which may turn into an exclusion of the UK from major decisions in Europe. On the contrary, Britain needs to be there, acting for Britain with Europe, as a proactive force. However, sovereignty is invoked also for the “out” position. Boris Johnson, on The Telegraph, makes it clear that the emerging EU super-state, with an all-out economic government, will have a great and dangerous impact on the UK and its autonomy. Sofia Vasilopoulou, on openDemocracy, takes a different route by arguing that the UK should stay in the Union because of the benefit of free movement: a credible “in” campaign would show, with specific information and objective facts, how positive EU citizens have been to Britain’s growth and welfare state. On the other hand, Pia Hüttl and Silvia Merler, on Bruegel, show how Brexit could damage London’s attractiveness as the centre of European banking, as an entry point to the EU and as a global financial hub. However, the reasons concerning “in” and “out” options are not the only ones at stake. From a more political perspective, James Bloodworth on Politico notes that Brexit proponents’ worst advertisement is their leadership. Indeed, the front men (and in particular Nigel Farage) of the Brexit camp appear as a bunch of authoritarians and isolationists, who are difficult to trust. However, despite the political deficiencies of the “out” campaign, if the “in” side really aims to win, it needs a change of strategy. As Eric Eve argues on Politico, pro-EU advocates need to explain clearly how Brexit would disrupt the lives of working-class Brits and small businesses.

Dealing with the refugee crises

The refugee crisis is far from over. To foster the idea that welcoming refugees to Europe is a moral and political necessity, a group of intellectuals have subscribed an appeal on Open Democracy addressed to government leaders, representatives in national and the European parliaments, the European Court of Justice, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Indeed, as Petros Fassoulas writes on EurActiv, the migration crisis is challenging some of the most important bedrocks of the EU: its solidarity, the principle of free movement, and EU’s attention towards human rights. In this circumstance, Fassoulas argues, there is a need for a pan-European approach for the management and protection of borders and the promotion of legal channels for migration. On this point, Thorbjørn Jagland adds on EurActiv, that the EU should propose and ensure better and fairer norms of asylum. Indeed, as Claus Offe argues on Social Europe, Europe needs a robust policy of integration for refugees, which takes into consideration them when they are still potential refugees in their countries of origin, proceeding to what to do once they have reached the member states, and concluding with their settlement in the country of destination. In the end, it is important to understand that, for the solution of the crisis, the relation between the EU and Turkey is crucial. As Rachida Dati writes on The Guardian, strengthening EU’s relations with Turkey is necessary for many reasons: the fight against terrorism; the war in Syria; and the control of EU’s external boarders. Thus, it is fundamental that the EU and Turkey work responsibly, and advance concrete proposals that are political in the highest sense of the world.

Mr. Draghi’s blueprint

The ECB’s decision to extend its quantitative easing programme has been highly debated. Eddie Gerba and Corrado Macchiarelli, on EUROPP, evaluate the QE framework and say that its action is still too low. A more efficient solution to increase private sector spending and lower inflation would be to accelerate the resolution of non-performing loans. Jörg Bibow, on Social Europe, shares Gerba and Macchiarelli worries and argue that ample central bank liquidity alone cannot heal the problems of the euro. This fact will be impossible to cover or camouflage in the very near future, when Europe will face a crunch time.

This Ideas Monitor is by Giulia Bistagnino and Carlo Burelli

Photo Credits CC: European Parliament


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