After the Brexit the biggest problems will begin in the EU foreign policy coordination, where the United Kingdom is an important player.
The referendum on the UK exit from EU will be held on June 23, 2016. According to the ORB survey for The Daily Telegraph newspaper, the number of Britons who are willing to stay in the European Union fell by two points, and now stands at 51%. Nicu Popescu , Senior Analyst and Programme Director for Russia and the Wider Europe of the European Council on Foreign Relations, discussed in an interview to www.valdaiclub.com
what could be the outcome of the referendum and how the Brexit will affect the UK and the European Union.
"The referendum is a very important and serious event that could make life difficult for Europe. Surely, it can be a great psychological shock. But at the same time it is not an existential situation ", - Nicu Popescu said.
According to the expert, in case of a formal exit from the European Union the UK will seek for the same things it has now. "Practically, it is clear that [the UK] will have to look for an opportunity to remain in the common European market and visa-free space" – the expert said.
He believes that after the Brexit the biggest problems will begin in the EU foreign policy coordination, where the United Kingdom is an important player. However, according to Popescu, in any case we need to wait for results of the referendum.
"If you analyze the EU-related referendums over the past 20 years, in the majority of these events people said "No" to any new EU initiatives. And it's a minus, "- said the expert, recalling how it happened in France, the Netherlands, Denmark (in early 1990), and in Ireland.
The positive factor, according to Popescu, is that the British voters are very rational. "If you look at the recent British elections, you'll see that, for example, the Conservatives won the elections twice, promising "to cut" government funding in different sectors," - he said.
"I can not imagine in what other countries around the world (they can be counted on the fingers of one hand) the majority of the population voted for a party that promised less, not more. That is, the British are able to count the budget and the economic consequences of their actions are better than in other countries. This is an electoral rationality - that's a plus, "- the expert said.
This "rational behavior trend" of the British voters could tip the scale in the direction that the UK remains in the EU, because in case of Brexit the economic blow against the UK will be quite serious. "It would undermine the investment climate for many years to come, and also the access of British banks to the European markets. This will create a lot of problems to the British business " - said Nicu Popescu.