Thoughts on Brexit
Barber, Tony; Pastor, Alfredo
Original document: Interviews with Tony Barber and Alfredo Pastor
Warning: Fallout Ahead
Tony Barber, Europe Editor for the Financial Times, interviewed at the 2015 IESE Global Alumni Reunion in Munich:
"I think for a long time businessmen grew accustomed to the idea that life carried on without too disruption....
These days, manifestations of disorder and outright violence and state breakdown reflect the shifting balance of global power. The potential negative impacts of Britain leaving the European Union I think are rather more serious than many business people may have understood.
A vote in the referendum that Britain is about to hold on membership in the European Union, if that vote went against staying in, it would have an instant effect on the public mood in Scotland. It would probably trigger a second referendum on the independence of Scotland, because Scotland wants to stay in the EU. And it would raise the chances of Scottish secession to a very high level in my view. It would also have an instant destabilizing effect on peace settlements in Northern Ireland. And an impact on secessionist movements elsewhere around Europe and the whole thing would give a boost to populist forces, particularly those on the far right.
Overall, the destructive negative effect of Britain leaving the EU on the kind of orderly conditions that business needs to flourish would be rather serious. And this is something business needs to keep a close eye on."
Causes and Effects: A Continental View
Alfredo Pastor, Professor of Economics, interviewed at IESE Barcelona
"In my view, the determinant of this referendum is probably the refugee crisis. The British are very sensitive to the possible effects of massive migration into the UK. I think that has been the final straw....
From the economic point of view, there are going to be losses, immediate losses. What will happen 30 years from now, nobody knows. But immediately neither one side nor the other should expect any sort of tangible benefits.
On the culture side, the British may think that they have nothing to learn from Europe, I don't know, that's for them to say. In the case of Europe, the exit of Britain would be a great loss. Britain has always been a part of Europe and their contribution to European culture, to the European way of doing things, is something that will be sorely missed...
The Brits have certainly valid reasons for wanting to leave the European Union.... And what that says is that European governance and the European way of operating has to be reformed and it has to be reformed relatively quickly....
So, the lessons that the European authorities should take from this episode of the Brexit vote, whichever way it ends up, is that many people have relatively valid complaints and they should be attended to."