Benedetta Brexit, with London at the most difficult table, the European turnaround of the Recovery Fund


Thanks Brexit? Maybe yes. And, to say it, it should be precisely the pro-Europeans. Britain’s exit from the European Union was, in fact, experienced by pro-European public opinion as a drama, indeed a tragedy that unexpectedly divides and weakens Europe, which is a threat to the contribution of a great democracy, a great Country, a great people. The pro-Europeans themselves, however, are peeling their hands to applaud the revolutionary turn that the coronavirus emergency has given to the future of the EU. And the question is: would that revolutionary turning point – involving not only the eurozone, but the whole Union – have been possible with London sitting at the table? Difficult to believe. At a minimum, Merkel, Macron and their proposals for the Recovery Fund would face opposition from not only four small countries, such as Austria, Holland, Sweden and Denmark, which together make up 5% of the European population, but of a piece of ninety like Great Britain.In the almost 50 years of its permanence in the Union, London has had a weight, often decisive, influencing the basic orientations and choices of Brussels, as well as the very spirit of European construction. With a simple formula, it can be argued that the British have circumscribed and reduced the bureaucratic and statist soul that France had infused into the European institutions. A constant liberal push is traced back to London, in the sense of liberalization on the ground, the regrouping of state aid to companies, the careful and attentive care of competition, the maximum openness to the market, the principle availability to lower barriers international commercial (even at the cost of bringing in GMOs). The British were among the most enthusiastic promoters of the single market and – attentive in particular to a Europe intended primarily as a customs union – to the enlargement of the EU towards new members. In this second case, a somewhat paradoxical enthusiasm, because it was precisely the total opening of the borders to the Polish plumbers and the Romanian laborers, immediate consequences of their entry into the Union, that triggered the popular or populist reactions that led to the Brexit.
But, from London’s point of view, the enlargement of the EU to always new members slowed down the push of the historical core of the European process to an ever greater integration. It was the British Prime Minister Cameron, in 2011, who blocked the extension to the whole EU, with a modification of the treaties, of the monitoring and harmonization rules of state budgets (the “fiscal compact”) promoted by France and Germany and, to the end, adopted only for the eurozone. How the British prevented the creation of a common tax, the “Tobin Tax”, on stock exchange transactions.In one case and another, Cameron did not contest the austerity of the “fiscal compact”, which London had already adopted on his own, or the opportunity to tax the stock exchange business, as the British have been doing for some time, but he defended the spaces of national sovereignty. The claim of a non-national, but European sovereignty is the axis of the turning point initiated by Merkel and Macron. Starting with the new and enhanced use of the Community budget (matter of the whole EU and not only of the eurozone), which becomes the lever for an intervention never seen before on the whole European economy, on the basis of financial autonomy Brussels. Initially made of debts, but, in perspective, according to the vision illustrated by Ursula von der Leyen, of own financial resources.

In other words, taxes: on multinationals, on large companies, land that London, even more than others, has always considered exclusively national. And with an EU that rediscovers a leading vocation. Green light to state aid to businesses for 2 trillion euros. Distrust of non-European investments. Projects for the creation of “industrial champions” or alliances between European companies to contrast the global American or Chinese dominance. A voice also on wages, with the hypothesis of a framework agreement on the minimum wage. Brexit or not, conservative England would have had a hard time recognizing itself in this Europe. And, perhaps, Labor England would have stung too.

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