The EU needs cool heads amid increasing uncertainty

The concern of many member states is that the EU is getting too big for its boots, writes Paul Mills.

In these days of ever increasing uncertainty, steady hands are required on all decks. It’s 11 months since the people of the UK voted to leave the EU. In a matter of weeks, the British government will hit the ‘Brexit Button’ and there is little chance of Britain changing its mind. Indeed, as we can determine from the polarised British press, a decision to try to reverse the result of the referendum would be worse than Brexit itself, with the risk of the UK being torn apart.

Britain has been our single major trading partner for a very long time, through thick and thin. Now, despite what the optimists might say, Ireland stands to be a big loser in the short term. In the long term, we could win against the odds.

Europe itself will not come of this smelling of roses either. The UK economy is very large. Its sales into the EU currently are very large and the value of European products imported into the UK is also very large. Its net contributions to the EU are also large. If the UK manages to readjust, it will affect Ireland and western Europe. If that were not enough, the performance of US President Donald Trump would drive a teetotal saint to drink.

In the face of President Trump’s actions; a polarised UK; a Russia that continues to throw shapes; and with major elections looming in the Netherlands, Germany and France, we need to keep our powder dry. In Ireland, we have Fine Gael focusing on its leadership contest. We need now, more than anything, very steady hands at the wheels of all of Europe’s main players, including those who run the EU.

The uncertainty of it all is a serious concern. However, EU leaders are ploughing ahead with driving a common consolidated corporate tax base that already has too much on its plate. The concern of many member states is that the EU is getting too big for its boots.

EU mandarins are destroying the consensus that is required to keep the EU intact. Cool heads need to prevail, or someone will go that one step too far.


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