7 reasons why France is looking forward to the Brexit
Europe. Love it or leave it. Well be our guests dear Englishmen. We won't regret you. We'll even take your departure as an opportunity !
In France, most politicians are fighting to maintain the UK within the EU. In the very scenarized agreement concluded on the 20th of February in Brussels, the European countries accepted to take it easy with the British, who were already dealing their own way with the EU. The country who refused the euro currency and the schengen area is now asking the right to not give social benefits to non-european workers. In David Cameron's mind this deal will prevent Brexit from happening.
The question "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?" will be asked to the voters, and they will have to answer whether they want to "remain" or "leave". The campaign is officially launched as pro-Europeans have already brought out their heavy artillery : official visit of Barack Obama on April, very pessimistic report of Her Majesty's Treasury on the potential cost of Brexit… But it may not be enough to counter a strong popular rejection of the EU at work right now, backed by very influential former mayor of London Boris Johnson, and Brexit is slowly but surely winning ground.
The French people, now rather eurosceptical themselves, are living by proxy this referendum. If the "leave" wins it will be a catastrophe for Great Britain. And probably a real opportunity for our country. 7 proofs.
Translated by Nicolas Salvi.
|1||The end of the (outrageous) British discount|
"I want my money back." Thatcher's famous punchline sums up pretty well the way Great Britain sees Europe. In a few words, a threat to Britain's financial and commercial interests in spite of all collective solidarity. For 5 years, until the 1984 deal, the Iron Lady fought to get a discount in the EU budget which compensates her contribution to the Common Agricultural Policy.
Every year, this discount is financed by other countries and more particularly France contributes to over a quarter of the amount. We're talking about 1.4 billion euros in 2014. All this happening as Great Britain gets wealthier than our country, which wasn't the case in 1984. Brexit would be a huge relief for French taxpayers… We want our money back !
|2||New customs agreement profiting to the EU|
Brexit would mean the end of free trade and the implementation of new customs agreements. Such a review would be profitable to Europe as EU remains the principal customer of Great Britain.
The sprinkler would be sprayed, as British euroscepticals who refuse to pay for Europe would have to pay a higher bill. Not to mention some rules they absolutely refuse: as the example of Switzerland and Norway shows, the free movement of persons could become a condition to a global customs agreement. Which would be kind of awkward for a country as barricaded as Britain.
Not to mention the fact that Europe will probably try to set an example to discourage other countries from leaving.
Consequence of the previous point, the free movement of European citizens would also mean the end of the Calais camp, as passages won't be controlled anymore between France and the UK. And even if Europe wasn't able to impose such a circulation, which would be surprising, France could decide that it doesn't have to assume the very restrictive British migration policy. By the way this is what finance minister Emmanuel Macron suggests.
Great Britain, which complains about losing its sovereignty over Europe could lose it a bit more without taking advantage of the EU.
|4||Let's make Europe clearer|
The agreement concluded on the 20th of February opens the door to an "à la carte" Europe where countries can opt for a deeper integration if they want to. This leads to a complex situation with many diverging interests. Saying Europe isn't getting over-complicated would be lying. Everything will be clearer if Brexit happens: EU, love it or leave it.
|5||We'll steal your City|
This is probably the best outcome of all: many banks are considering to relocate some teams in Paris, Dublin or Frankfurt if Brexit happens. We should keep in mind that City makes over 40 % of its transactions with the European union. In euros.
The investment bank HSBC employs no less than 5.000 executives in London, but will transfer 1.000 of them in Paris. Same thing for Goldman Sachs, which also considers moving to the continent. 250 foreign banks are located in the City. They enjoy both the British regime and the European legal framework. This way they don't have to solicit an authorization to every European country for, say, their savings products. The end of this cosy framework would give them the jitters.
|6||A bit of English bashing...|
They love to hate us. Shutting their mouth will make us feel really good. Remember when mayor of London Boris Johnson shamelessly teased our business owners by selling them ideal developing conditions ? This will end soon. Britain will go from economic heaven to commercial hell. Not to mention the customs' nightmare.
Beyond economical benefits, Europeans will be able, at last, to mock the British isolation and its terrible move. No more endless negotiations. No more big checks. No more disrespect for humanistic values. No more financial cynicism. The European train will start moving again, and more lightly so.
|7||Vive la Francophonie|
64 million English speakers out of Europe isn't nothing. Sure, we'll still have a handful of Irish (4.6 million) who still refuse to speak Irish and a few Maltese (446.000). But native English speakers will only represent 5 % of the EU population in the end. So why keep English as an official langage ? Let's remember French has been the diplomats' language for a very long time in Europe.