Great Britain has voted to leave the European Union, the divorce proceedings have started.
The historic #Brexit vote was 52% #Leave and 48% #Remain. Shockwaves have reverberated through financial markets and the Pound dropped 8% of its value.
Unlike most Polish people I know, I’m very glad that Britain is separating from the EU.
The EU is an invasive, undemocratic and unaccountable behemoth that does far more harm than good.
Richard Epstein has a great take on why the Brexit is good for Britain and may also benefit the rest of Europe. The EU’s fatal flaw has been ever-growing bureaucratization and centralization that has gone far beyond the common market of its European Economic Community predecessor.
The economic argument is significant, but in my view immigration is fundamental to the discussion. Every country has the right to decide who is admitted within their borders. Under the EU, Britain was forced to allow in any EU citizen who wanted to live and work there. As a result, roughly 1 million people from Poland alone, now live in the UK.
Poles tend to learn English and integrate into the culture well, but at the end of the day they are Polish, not British, and having huge minorities from any country isn’t a healthy, long-term prospect for national cohesion. It’s almost certain that Angela Merkel’s radical migrant policy pushed Brexit over the edge. Giving EU citizenship to tens or hundreds of thousands of migrants of unknown origin is certainly in the cards. Armed with passports they could travel to Great Britain with ease.
Although Poles fear the consequences of Britain’s exit, it would ultimately benefit Poland to have many young, work-experienced, university graduates return to the country after a decade of outmigration. Unless they have lived in the UK for five years or more, they can’t apply for citizenship and can only hope for a work permit. It’s not clear how many would return to Poland instead of moving to other European countries, but it could be substantial.
Although I am Polish, I was raised in America so I don’t have the same mindset as most Poles.
My numer #1 value is freedom, and above all else, the British voted for freedom yesterday and I commend them for it.
Many Poles, and other Europeans, tend to have a very cautious and defensive mindset that favors security and stability over freedom. It’s understandable when you have a recent history of wars and occupations that devastated your country, but what doesn’t make sense is seeking security at the expense of independence. Benjamin Franklin’s prescient thought on the matter comes to mind:
“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
Poland has benefitted from EU membership by extracting resources from other countries. Freedom of movement has allowed millions of Poles to live and work in Western Europe and earn billions of Euros and Pounds. EU “investments” have poured tens of billions of Euros into Poland’s infrastructure and economic development.
I have no qualms accepting these benefits, I think it’s a pittance compared to the just reparations Poland deserves for being decimated or deserted by its neighbors and allies in the 20th century. I also have no problem with other countries deciding that they’ve had enough being the welfare subsidiary of Europe and deciding to opt out.
I’ve heard some people express anger, even a desire for revenge against Great Britain for leaving the EU. What the heck is up with that? What kind of a scarcity mindset seeks to punish people for shutting off access to their own resources?
The EU is not going to defend Poland from real threats to its security, namely Putin’s Russia. That responsibility belongs to NATO, and frankly, Germany, the EU’s driving force and primary beneficiary, is woefully undercommitted to European defense. It spends around 1.2% of its budget on defense, well below the 2% expected of NATO members. When the excrement hits the fan, Poland is going to depend on the United States and the United Kingdom for its defense.
Perhaps the most underrated, yet important consequence of Brexit will be how it will force the EU to either shape up or get out of Dodge. The EU has cast a spell of ennui over millions of its residents. They have become very comfortable with how things are, and they fiercely oppose any change that may upset their soft and comfortable existence, even if it’s unsustainable.
Britain voted for freedom today, it’s a really big deal.
The small minded will fret about what they will lose, instead of what the world stands to gain. More freedom means a larger number of people deciding for themselves how they want to lead their lives. Free people, left to their own decisions, always make better decisions than self-anointed “experts”, micromanagers, and control-freaks bureacrats.
Great Britain is truly one of the biggest success stories in history. A proud and powerful nation that has been a pillar of Western Civilization for centuries. The period of EU membership has weakened its identity, constrained its freedoms and made it less “British” than ever before.
I’m confident the UK will do just fine without the EU, maybe other countries can follow its example and decide how valable freedom truly is to them.