Brexit fallout

Europe Needs to Show What It’s Made Of

European Council President Donald Tusk, center, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe address the media prior to an EU Japan leaders' meeting at the EU Council building in Brussels on Tuesday May 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The biggest fear in Europe is not that Britain leaves the European Union, but that several other countries will demand referendums to do the same.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Britain’s vote to leave the European Union has hit the entire continent.
    • Stock market declines in southern Europe were even more pronounced than in Great Britain, and the euro lost almost 3 percent against the U.S. dollar in a single day.
    • Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front, has called for a similar referendum in France.
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  • Audio

    Audio

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The Frenchman Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of today’s Europe, wrote that the process of European unity will “be accomplished in crises.” The Brexit decision is a catastrophe for all Europeans. It is coming at a high price in political, social and economic terms.

But it is also a crisis that can make Europe significantly stronger – if politicians, especially in Germany, recognize and use it as such. What is positive is that this crisis is an “announced crisis.” It provides politics with the chance to act actively and preventively. This requires Europe to have a post-Brexit plan. Four elements are particularly important.

First, panic must be prevented on the financial markets. Central banks, above all the European Central Bank, so denigrated in Germany, have already promised to do their part to assure stability. Politics now must follow suit and voice binding commitments to do everything necessary to support the economy. It must not repeat the mistake of waiting until the child has fallen into the well.

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