Thursday the 23rd June 2016 will forever be recorded in the history books as the momentous day which saw Great Britain's record voting turnout of over 70% leading the impending exit of the world’s 5th largest economy from the slowly crumbling EU bloc.
At the time of its establishment, the EU was an ideal that appeared to be starting to become realized. It was to become a trading and economic bloc among a handful of European nations that could work together for economic prosperity and stability.
As the years and decades progressed, more and more countries sought and established full EU membership, slowly but surely leading to what would become arguably one of the biggest bureaucracies of our time. In time, the EU shunted itself and its laws into its members’ national laws and ways of life; creating a system that entrapped members, but which was almost impossible to get out of.
When it comes to Israel, while the relationship between Israel and the UK has occasionally become somewhat ‘strained,’ the two countries do for the most part enjoy a good and mutually beneficial relationshi. This is particularly clear in the business world of London, where Israelis are the innovators of so many new companies and services. The UK’s economy is service-based, with the vast majority of the contributions from the UK being its world-renowned services sector.
This is tied with the relationship between the UK and Israel and it is plain to see. It isn’t just the estate agents in London in the prosperous property market who are feeling the benefits of financial and intellectual input from Israelis. For example, increasing numbers of short term loan companies, start-ups, restaurants and innovative businesses are popping up all over with the strong help of some of Israel’s brightest and most innovative minds.
The EU on the other hand does not encourage or help these links. Rather, the 28 (soon to be 27) member union funds questionable and controversial projects, often to the clear detriment of Israel and its citizens, with some of the mentioned projects being downright illegal, as exposed recently by the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper.
Britain’s looming exit (commencing when Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty is invoked) from the EU has huge ramifications for the EU, Great Britain and the wider world. Britain is currently the 5th largest economy in the world and boasts the fastest growing western economy in the world today. Alongside the slowing, yet large economy of Germany, Britain has been one of the supporting pillars of the EU.
From its strong economy and more than £10 billion net contribution to EU coffers per year, to its outstanding intelligence services and military power, Britain has over time seen itself contribute disproportionately to the EU and its idealistic projects.
The EU though doesn’t really ever like to acknowledge the errors of its ways. A prime example is how it has dealt with the ‘Euro-Crisis’ in Greece and among many member states on the continent. While the Greek economy was failing, the EU continued to lend far more than the 7% of GDP it previously agreed upon. This has in turn led to crippling consequences for Greece.
Then there is Angela Merkel’s dealing with the hundreds of thousands of migrants coming to Europe from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan and more. By telling the world on behalf of the entire EU that ‘all are welcome’ to come to Europe, she opened up floodgates that have already demonstrated dire consequences in France. Belgium and beyond.
However, with Britain working towards its exit of the EU, this could and indeed should signal the start of very exciting times ahead. Rather than being heavily restricted to the 17% of the global economy, which is found in the single market of the EU that member states have access to, the UK can look towards building bridges and profitable trade agreements with emerging and strengthening states including the likes of India, China, Brazil, Australia – and Israel.
Britain has never had a problem attracting some of the best and brightest minds and businesspeople to its shores, and the EU’s single market has proved itself to be a useful resource for the UK and its industry. However, with the UK soon able to negotiate its own trade and relationship deals and with the EU’s slowing overall economy, the tide could be changing for the better for the UK, Israel and the rest of the world.