We are publishing an Italian book about Brexit: the title is “Brexit. The challenge”, and it is a reaction to the main “narrative” which described Brexit in terms of anathema and superstition.
We have tried to put down in black and white the other side of the story. From the British point of view, explaining that Brexit means taking back control of the main political decisions about economy and immigration, and making Britain a global super-hub capable of attracting resources and investments.
And also from a European point of view, arguing that the next negotiations between London and Brussels may offer an extraordinary opportunity to trigger a European renegotiation. The Brexit process must be considered as an opportunity to prevent the introduction of a sort of “super-State”, a Franco-German project designed in Berlin, in Paris and in Brussels, and then imposed to all of the others.
In our opinion, the time has come to explain that too much time has been spent and wasted on the institutional aspect of the EU architecture. Many have focused their attention on the institutional tools, forgetting the political will and courage to carry out real reforms. They have mixed up the means with the purposes. To quote Mrs Thatcher and what she presciently explained in her “Bruges speech” in 1988:
“The Community is not an end in itself. Nor it is an institutional device to be constantly modified according to the dictates of some abstract intellectual concept. Nor must it be ossified by endless regulation. The European Community is a practical means by which Europe can ensure the future prosperity and security of its people in a world in which there are many other powerful nations and groups of nations. We Europeans cannot afford to waste our energies on internal disputes or arcane institutional debates”.
This is the main reason, from our perspective, why we must absolutely reject the so-called Five Presidents Report. It would be the “final cage”, the final attempt to impose an absurd strait-jacket of uniformity from Portugal to Finland. We must make clear that we need free competition between different models, a willing cooperation (and a virtuous challenge) between fiscal and legal systems, and not a single and unique solution imposed to everyone.
We should learn from the Brexit experience.
Of course, not all EU countries can afford a sort of leap in the dark. Many countries are not in the same position as the United Kingdom: they are not the fourth military global power, they are not the fifth economy in the world, and many of them (Italy, for example) are overwhelmed by massive sovereign debt.
But the time has come to outline different scenarios, to have a coping strategy. No one can honestly take for granted that what has not worked so far will be working in the future.
We should offer a constructive proposal to the mass of disappointed and disaffected electors. Instead of “judging” them, we should offer them something better. A great part of the European electorate is looking forward to listening not only to a criticism of the EU, but also to a positive and constructive platform.
Daniele Capezzone is an Italian MP, Federico Punzi is an Italian journalist)
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“Brexit. The Challenge” is published by Giubilei Regnani and collects opinions and views (or articles) from many authoritative figures. Among them, Janet Daley, Michael Doran, Niall Ferguson, Nile Gardiner, David Goodhart, Daniel Hannan, Allister Heath, John Hulsman, Tim Knox, Lord Nigel Lawson, Charles Moore, Peter Rough. The volume also includes papers from the Adam Smith Institute, the Centre for Policy Studies, Policy Exchange and The Conservative.