Brexit Could Be Good for Europe, Says Former Spanish Minister

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It may be for the greater good if Britain left the European Union (EU), a former Spanish Industry Minister has said.

Britain’s renegotiation has left the EU vulnerable to other member states wanting their own concessions, and on balance it might be best if the UK just left, Joan Majó wrote in Catalan newspaper Ara.

In a column titled “Bye, bye United Kingdom”, the businessman and former Socialist Industry Minister argues that after “decades of progress” towards greater centralisation, other states will now resent the “special treatment” given to the UK.

Also, despite the watered-down nature of the Cameron deal, Mr Majó argues that most European leaders only agreed to it to stop Britain leaving the EU.

If Britain does leave the EU, however, there may be a bright side.

Mr Majó writes: “It’s clear that this exit would have some negative effects, but I am convinced they would be no worse than the impositions that have come from London.”

If Britain votes to leave, he says, it will clarify the situation in Europe. If it stays, however, Brussels will be forced to offer its own clarification on what other EU states can and cannot do.

Whatever happens, the arch-federalist writes, the EU will have to abandon the idea of a “two-speed” Europe, with some states less integrated than others, thus presenting a warning to those who hope for a “reformed EU”.

Mr Majó’s comments echo those of Paul De Grauwe, head of the European Institute at the London School of Economics, who said that Brexit may be in everyone’s best interests in the long run.

“There is a lot of hatred against Europe. The media and a major part of the political elite dislike the European Union. This will not disappear after the referendum,” he told Belgian news show Terzake.

Yesterday, the Director General of the European Commission’s ‘Task Force for Strategic Issues related to the UK Referendum’ warned that David Cameron’s EU deal is wide open to challenge from “clever lawyers”.

Jonathan Faull told MEPs: “This is written by human beings, I hope clever human beings, but there are equally clever lawyers will want to look into text which will be translated into all our different languages.

“We think it is precise and lawful. I can’t rule out there won’t be arguments about what this word meant in that paragraph. That’s human nature.

“This is not a new EU treaty and does not amend the EU treaties. It is a decision of the Council…

“…It is simply to enshrine in a solemn way what is already possible under the current law.”

His warning was echoed by Justice Secretary Michael Gove, who told the BBC this morning: “The facts are that the European Court of Justice is not bound by this agreement until treaties are changed and we don’t know when that will be…”

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