Thursday’s vote against a pooled sovereignty arrangement, and in favor of a “go-it-alone” strategy suggests a new nationalism, with consequences that will ripple throughout the European Union [“Britain votes to leave EU,” Page One, June 24]. As a professor of Scandinavian Studies, the popular vote seems to me more Norwegian in character.
In interviews in small states, the fear of getting swallowed up by decisions made far away from the people is highly unattractive. Danes, like the British, rejected the common currency and intrusive policies that did not resonate with national institutions. And subsequent treaties have sought to transfer greater authority to the one directly elected body in the European Union: the Parliament.
Within Europe are two competing visions that have been present since the founding: a British vision and a German vision. One protects the state from the growing regionalism, the other posits greater prosperity and influence through collaboration in a regional bloc. Britain has exceeded our expectations of standing aloof, and is now likely to be invited to join a looser organization of small states: the European Free Trade Area.
Disentangling Britain from the EU will take time. And there will be costs. Scotland is reconsidering another vote on independence, which would be a substantial loss for the Brits. And many of the workers in Britain come there under EU rules, which would either be renewed or younger Europeans would be turned away.
Most Read Opinion Stories
- Let new council decide Seattle neighborhoods' fate | Editorial
- U.S. must follow Canada and invite tribes into Columbia River Treaty negotiation | Op-Ed
- I'm rooting for James Holzhauer, the 'Jeopardy!' phenom | Op-Ed / Ken Jennings
- Dear millennials: The feeling is mutual | Opinion
- Why won't we talk about death? | Op-Ed
Preferring nation to region is a privilege of small states with abundant petroleum, sustainable fisheries or those seeking a global role in finance. Thursday’s vote puts Britain in a weak leadership position at a time when collaboration and innovation are needed to keep up the neighborhood. And balancing the power of Germany within the EU becomes more difficult, for all states.
May Britain (like Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) retain skepticism, yet remain engaged in the European project, intended for both peace and prosperity.
Christine Ingebritsen, Seattle