As financial markets are plummeting and the Pound Sterling and Euro are making a nosedive now that the Brexit camp has won, we wonder how it is possible that Europe is being taken hostage by a small majority in one of its member states. In the UK the Brexit camp pulled through by the skin of their teeth (52-48%), plunging Europe and maybe even the global economy in chaos.
Can you imagine this happening in a company? That all strategic decisions would be subject to referenda? Companies would be completely paralyzed. Why is it then, that we do just this in Europe? We think this is because decisions are not made by European nations.
It’s time that Europe confronts the brutal facts. And that is that ‘not choosing’ is the worst choice. Europe has roughly 3 options:
- Back to the national states like Switzerland, seeking alliances and signing treaties without the loss of sovereignty.
- Carry on ‘as is’ waiting for the next exit; Nexit, Grexit, Frexit. Sending our economy to the dungeons.
- Push through and establish a unified European state with the countries that see the added value of it and are willing to give up part of their sovereignty e.g. on Foreign Affairs and Defense.
We’re surprised by the lacklustre way that the European project is playing out. If nothing changes we believe that this is the beginning of the end in which Brexit will be followed by Nexit, Frexit and Grexit. So the time has come to choose what the end state of the E.U. should be and then follow through. Please ask yourself three questions and then assess for yourself whether this is the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning:
- Does Europe have a clear end in mind? Is it clear what the end state is that we want to reach? Without a clear end in mind companies go out of control. This might also be the faith of an indecisive Europe.
- Win-win or win-lose? What was meant as an opportunity for all participating nations has become cherry picking as countries choose to collaborate as long as decisions are made that favour their region or situation. This would not work in a business environment. Why would it for Europe?
- Aren’t referenda overrated? Picture how things would play out if Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex organise a referendum to leave Great-Britain because of their strong trade relations with Europe?
We say: ‘Dear Europe, choose or suffer.’ Take a stand and lead the European people towards a clear business model, be it the model of sovereign nation states or the model of a unified Europe. As long as we give clarity to the world and the financial markets and thus allow for economic stability so economies and the European people can thrive.
In that case this Brexit vote might bring us some good after all and mark the end of the beginning.
Vincent Hooplot & Michiel Breeschoten