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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 29th July 2016 > EU MIGHT NOT BE SO BAD


After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, the continent’s leaders are debating whether it’s wise to beat up on their departing partner


THE TEMPTATION for the European Union will be strong. Confronted with one of its members taking the unprecedented decision to leave the bloc, why shouldn’t the EU treat departing Britain like a pariah? The scorned EU could decide to impose trade tariffs and other punitive measures, making it clear to any other restive European electorate just how isolated any exiting nations will be.

But while there is anger and a sense of betrayal in Brussels, the EU’s headquarters, some officials there and in other European capitals worry that a hard-line approach could alienate EU member states that have reservations about the European project. As the sense of shock at Britain’s June 23 vote to leave the EU ebbs somewhat, a growing number of European politicians are suggesting it might be wise to take a more accommodating approach in future negotiations over Britain’s departure. Implicit in that softer attitude is a recognition that the British aren’t the only voters in the bloc who feel the EU is a burden rather than a help.

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