Brexit pain prompts sec­ond thoughts

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - AROUND 54 PER­CENT OF OVER 1,000 IN­TER­VIE­WEES

in the United King­dom said they wanted to re­main a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Union, while just 46 per­cent were in favor of Brexit, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est sur­vey by the polling and mar­ket re­search agency Sur­va­tion. Bei­jing News com­mented on Tues­day:

The Sur­va­tion re­port, which con­cludes that UK vot­ers might choose dif­fer­ently if another Brexit ref­er­en­dum was held, is a mir­ror of the chang­ing public sen­ti­ment in the coun­try. Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s set­back in last month’s snap gen­eral elec­tion sug­gests that more UK cit­i­zens are feel­ing the pain fol­low­ing the de­ci­sion to sep­a­rate from the EU.

Their “nos­tal­gia” for the good old days be­fore the vote to leave is un­der­stand­able. The UK’s di­vorce from the world’s largest sin­gle mar­ket means they may lose priv­i­leges such as visa-free travel within the bloc. The Bri­tish cur­rency faces fur­ther de­val­u­a­tion, and UK en­ter­prises could be tempted to leave their coun­try to main­tain their EU op­er­a­tions, ad­ding to the risk of job cuts in the UK.

At a Euro­pean sum­mit last month, May

promised to make a “fair and se­ri­ous” of­fer to guar­an­tee the rights of 3 mil­lion EU cit­i­zens liv­ing in the UK. Her of­fer, of course, will hinge on a re­cip­ro­cal deal cov­er­ing 1 mil­lion UK cit­i­zens liv­ing in the re­main­ing 27 EU coun­tries.

That should add some cer­tainty to the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions, high­light­ing the fact that Lon­don and Brus­sels still need each other as much as they did half a cen­tury ago.

The UK made stren­u­ous ef­forts then to be in­cluded in the bloc, which was called the Euro­pean Com­mu­nity, be­fore it fi­nally gained en­try in 1973. It helped build the bloc’s mone­tary sys­tem, con­trib­uted to the free flow of per­son­nel, com­modi­ties, cap­i­tal and ser­vices, and en­hanced the EU’s de­fense ca­pa­bil­i­ties. On the other hand, it re­lies heav­ily on the EU mar­ket. A happy breakup is vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble then.

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