But it is not that simple. There are many motivations why people voted for Brexit, it is hard to find one root cause. A big part of it was based on sentiment or on false information. The EU was blamed for things that were still in the hands of the UK government as well as pure disinformation. Some voted based on the feeling that Britain as a former superpower lost its superiority under suppression of Brussels. This is also untrue, Britain had lost it decades before entering the EU. And to be honest, Britain never really behaved as if they had ever joined the EU. But the vast majority of those who voted to exit were motivated by one simple argument, that Britain will do much better independent from the EU. And this may be a valid reason and could be true.
Britain in the short term after exiting the EU will decline economically. However, it is very possible that after this short 7 to 10 years period, Britain could start do much better medium-term. But what would be the long term result in 20+ years? And this is what should terrify us. We are completely forgetting the initial motivation behind EU integration and why the Coal and Steel Community was founded and should refresh our memories.
Inequality is one of the main root causes of conflict. The EU was founded on rules of equality and cooperation to remove this root cause that had led to conflicts for centuries. The motivation was to control the primary materials that are crucial in preparation for war, cooperate economically and share to remove inequality between the regions. Regions having good economic cooperation and a dependency on each other would remove the envy between them, which would prevent further conflicts. And it worked. Europe experienced a long period of peace, stability and wealth.
Wealthy countries understand that supporting poorer ones will decrease their current wealth, but creates a strong region that they will benefit them long term. Throughout history, there has never been a more peaceful unity of countries that brought so much peace and stability. This is not just the case with the EU, as such, but also worldwide. There is an old saying in international relations — the US mess it up, the UN is trying to fix it and the EU is paying for it. The EU has had plenty of development project funding around the world. We can discuss effectivity and we should, but the truth is, we see the results. The mechanism is simple, by sharing something now we all will benefit in the long term from a stable, secure and wealthy world. In return, we receive more security and bigger markets.
Which brings us back to the UK. A country surrounded by neighbours that focus on development, sharing and creating security can easily benefit from and take advantage of them; the country can make a profit negotiating good bilateral treaties. And in this case, taking advantage of being in the EU region it could actually be quite easy. To simplify, If we were to take Switzerland or Norway and place it somewhere in the middle of Africa it is highly improbable, that they will do as well as they do in the EU region, which is built through strong cooperation and sharing. These countries realize it and that is why they adopt many of the EU regulations and pay their share.
What should worry us is how people take this security and stability that we have been working hard at building over many years for granted. It is not. If Britain will start to take advantage of countries close to the EU, in the long-term sparks of envy and hostility could easily start. Now we cannot imagine Britain, Germany or France starting an open business war or hostile action between these countries. However, this is because they are EU partners the situation could be very different in 15+ years.