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Maybrit Illner: Bye-Bye Britannia: Will the EU survive Brexit?

Updated on January 18, 2019, 06:43

After Theresa May crashes, the defeat of the run-off in the British lower house threatens an unregulated Brexit. Among the potential consequences for Britain and the EU, Maybrit Illner developed a lively discussion – with a surprisingly positive outlook from an expert.

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Purchases of hamsters, money transfers, urgent requests for passports: almost three months before Brexit, nervousness is on the rise – especially because, according to the current situation, Britain is threatening to leave the European Union without rules.

The reason: Tuesday British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a clear defeat in the House of Commons vote for her agreement with the EU.

What is the topic?

Brexit is an important cut for Britain and the EU: economic, political and strategic. Which side could cause more damage and who could benefit from the exit, employs people on both sides of the channel after the two and a half year ago vote.

Maybrit Illner addressed the topic under the headline a little underlined "Bye-Bye Britannia – Does the EU survive Brexit?" on.

Who are the guests?

Heiko Maas: German Foreign Minister (SPD) assumes that unregulated Brexit can still be avoided. The English must only "say what they want".

He is deeply concerned about the difficult border between Northern Ireland, which belongs to Great Britain, and Ireland, a member of the EU. "We do not want a war to break out somewhere in Europe because of a decision by the European Union," Maas said. For him, Brexit is also an opportunity for the EU to get closer together.

Alexander Gauland: After the failed vote, the AfD leader called for greater EU cooperation with Britain. His proposal: For a period of transition, the British remain in the Customs Union, but without the free movement of people. Another referendum rejected Gauland.

Wolfgang Sobotka: In the eyes of the President of the Austrian National Council (ÖVP), an "excellent compromise" was negotiated between the EU and the United Kingdom.

He therefore rejected any further arrangement of the Union, as well as a British reserve in the EU internal market. The conservative politician sees migration as one of the main causes of Brexit. Europe must find an answer to this.

Gisela Stuart: The Brexit activist born in Bavaria declares the vote with the desire of many Britons to have the final word on who makes their laws.

But: "Nobody wants a Brexit without agreements," said Stuart. "We still have two months."

Ulrike Guérot. The political scientist praised the "insanely good" negotiation of the EU in the Brexit affair. So much unity was rare. In their eyes, the British abandonment of the continent is also an opportunity for a merger of the remaining 27 EU countries.

Carolin Roth: the economic journalist advised all those affected by Brexit to prepare well. The British are already doing it: in a single player there was a pharmacy, which stored larger stores of powers of Viagra.

Roth assumes that the biggest damage "clearly the United Kingdom" meets. Prices can become more expensive, unemployment and inflation rates are rising and investments are decreasing.

Particularly drastic: British economic growth could go down to eight percent, Roth said. A number that was too high for Gisela Stuart. "Eight percent, it's when you have earthquakes, tsunamis and more," she replied, shaking her head.

What was the duel of the evening's speech?

A skirmish between companions. The German social democrat Heiko Maas and the British Labor MEP Gisela Stuart fought with passion for those most concerned about peace in Northern Ireland – the EU or the British.

"When it was decided for Brexit, it was not interested in! I would have liked that it would have been discussed on these issues," Maas criticized.

What was the moment of the evening?

The passionate request for Maas for Europe – and against the unilateral thought of the nation-state. "They represent a policy that represents national interests," he told Gauland. "The counter model is Europe."

Talking about each other and solving problems together is the right way, says Maas. He called for a strengthening of the European Parliament and a majority vote in the EU's foreign policy to make Europe more compliant. So far, unanimity is needed in the European Council.

What is the result?

Europe is under pressure, but Brexit also offers the opportunity to move together. Ulrike Guérot spoke in favor of the reforms. A "parliamentarization of the EU" and a strengthening of the regions in the European process. Gisela Stuart encouraged closer cooperation between the countries that introduced the euro.

AfD Gauland also called for EU reforms. However, they should ideally lead to an orderly dissolution of the Union. "If the parties with whom we are friends are strengthening, we have the possibility to change the EU, we want to return to the European market", said Gauland – and not a European state.

In Wolfgang Sobotka he found an ally on migration. The Austrian expressed support for the deeper separation of asylum and immigration and "making the transition to the EU very clear". People need to feel at home. And since "the people" seem to disturb too many migrants, one could understand the words of the ÖVP politician.

After all, the economic journalist Roth, after all his warnings, indicated the possible positive economic effects of Brexit. It will take advantage of the financial center of Frankfurt am Main, he predicted. And even the British could make their departure from Europe a success story if they succeed in concluding lucrative business deals with the rest of the world.

"So this can be a success," says Roth. "But not in a short time." Cautious optimism and Brexit talk: a combination rarely seen.

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