“We decide on something, leave it lying around, and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don’t understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back.” (Jean-Claude Juncker, 1999)
Now they have really done it. On the 23 June 2016 the British decided to turn their backs on the EU. They were always an important part of Europe, but they kept their distance from the EU. They arrived later and now leave earlier. As a nation of “shopkeepers“ they welcomed free trade, and had nothing against the free movement of capital. However, they had anxiety when it came to the free movement of persons. This was not always the case. After the eastward enlargement the UK did not make use of the transition period. They immediately opened the labor markets. Only in recent times has the fear of being overwhelmed by immigrants grown. The reason was the massive immigration from within and outside of the EU. The process of the “deepening“ of the EU was met with undisguised skepticism by the British since the start of their membership. They were againstny loss of national sovereignty. Membership contributions to the EU were a daily reminder that others were spending their money. To them, a political union has always been an abomination, and all the steps in this direction were suspect. And the EU, driven by the Commission, took many such steps. Britain therefore also kept its distance from the EMU, Schengen, or the Social Charter.