"For the European Union, post-Brexit presents a much more serious challenge than for Boris Johnson"

VSin contrast to appearances, Boris Johnson has the easiest task. For the post-Brexit era, he just promised everything and its opposite. The challenge remains political. The British Prime Minister has to move from slogan to program, get out of rhetoric, get into reality, which he does not like. The Twenty-Seven face an almost existential challenge. Brexit forces them to prove every day that they are better in the European Union (EU) than outside.

In economic terms, the case should not be too difficult to demonstrate as the European economies are interdependent. Otherwise, it's hard to see why Mr. Johnson would go to such lengths to negotiate a large free trade agreement with Brussels – "Without tariffs or quotas". He says London wants to be able to both "Diverge" of the EU – adopt standards different from those in Brussels – and have full access to the European single market. This is contradictory: entering this market presupposes the convergence of standards, guaranteeing fair competition. The head of the British government will have to decide: all contradictions cannot dissolve in rhetorical fireworks. He’s going to find out you can't eat your cake and keep it in the fridge.

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But for the EU, post-Brexit presents an even more serious challenge. It is a question of renewing the evidence of the original promise: one weighs more together than separate. The added value of community belonging must become overwhelming. The advantages of being in the EU will now be assessed in the light of the situation observed with the British neighbors.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel described Brexit as serious " Warning " addressed to the EU. French President Emmanuel Macron is counting on the Conference on the Future of Europe to revitalize it. The message is the same: we should be better in the future. The catastrophic management of the Greek sovereign debt crisis and the EU’s helplessness in the face of the 2015 migration crisis have dramatically affected the image of Europe.

Weigh in front of Washington or Beijing

Strategic issues will not wait. The new world is coming at high speed; it leads to an aging Europe and its half a billion inhabitants, with three major challenges: the rise in overpower of China; the demographic explosion in Africa (an elegant way of talking about immigration issues); finally, the climate.


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