Edited by Annette Bongardt, Leila S. Talani and Francisco Torres
Chapter 2: Brexit as a question of political rationality: hard choices for the UK, lessons for EU sustainability
Brexit can be viewed as a logical consequence and culmination of the UK harbouring ever more divergent preferences from the EU. Such divergence became incompatible and arguably unsustainable when EU integration deepened to EMU and the UK was not prepared to go along with the requirements to make it function. Having triggered the EU’s exit clause to disentangle itself and withdraw from the EU, the UK has found it unpalatable that, even as a third country, it still faces the same dilemma as an EU member: it has to make a choice as to the degree of proximity to the EU’s internal market, by far its largest market, as any preferential trade agreement faces some trade-off between sovereignty and the available economic benefits. As for the EU, the UK’s exit has on the one hand put in sharp focus the limits of differentiated integration and the need to face the question of the Eurozone as the Union’s economic and political core, but also shed light on opportunities for the EU and important lessons for the sustainability of the club.
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