At the time when I’m writing this article I’ve just completed a visit to our College’s Polish campus. A nice dinner in Natolin is always a good idea, especially in the good company of fellow students. Without much effort the topic of conversation turned to Brexit and its possible consequences for the future.
Since we don’t know the outcome yet at this article’s time of publishing it would be wrong and counterproductive to speculate too much in advance. It is however certain that a Brexit would heavily impact the European project, for better or for worse. As somebody with a lot of British friends – both very Eurosceptic and very Europhile ones – I often find myself in discussions about the merits of EU membership. Seeing things from both sides is key to come to a better understanding of any situation, not in the least because of the voluminous interests that are at stake.
Will the EU actually be better off without the Brits, as some Eurosceptics and Europhiles alike have told me? Or will a goodbye prelude the weakening of either the EU or the UK, as if it were a self-inflicted wound? If even the president of the United States’ words on the matter can’t seem to sway the British people’s opinion in any given direction, who am I to judge?
The British people will face a very important choice come referendum day. Though the consequences of both scenarios have been laid out and analysed over and over again, it boils down to a jump in the deep (since nobody ever left the EU before) or a renewed commitment to the European project, imperfect as it may be. Let us hope that we as students and soon to be alumni of the College of Europe may rise to the challenges ahead, regardless of the referendum’s outcome.