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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > Aug-18 > The pitfalls

The pitfalls

Europe doesn’t want us back

Wolfgang Münchau

What strikes me most about the Brexit discussions in the UK is not the usual Eurosceptic xenophobia, but the lack of understanding of the EU’s position by those who campaign in favour of a Brexit reversal. The leaders of the EU are officially disappointed that Britain is headed for the door; secretly they will be relieved when it goes. In truth, the EU does not really want Brexit to be reversed.

Why? Britain has a reputation as an obstreperous “partner” in the institutions, and in the past has sometimes made it harder for Europe to move forward—most notoriously in 2011, when David Cameron used the eurocrisis to try and extract concessions on other things. In the event of a reversal, the Europeans would rightly assume that the ghost of Brexit would never go away. Ukip would be back in the European Parliament, adding strength to the Salvini and Le Pen factions. Brussels, Berlin and Paris could all do without that.

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In Prospect’s August issue: Zoe Williams argues that the first thing we need to do if we are to remain in the EU is to tackle the reasons why so many wanted out—namely pay and conditions at home and the impact of unfettered capitalism. Prospect’s Alex Dean and Tom Clark interviewed former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg who says the liberal centre should keep the faith—there is another way to work closely with Europe, but the immigration question is central to finding that solution. Meanwhile, a group of writers including Wolfgang Münchau, Shashank Joshi and Owen Hatherley explain some of the pitfalls, prizes and things you hadn’t thought about when it comes to the UK’s relationship with the EU. Elsewhere in the issue: Former UK diplomat Tom Fletcher profiles the out-going UN human rights chief who is causing a stir by saying the things nobody else would dare. Steve Bloomfield asks what happened to Seymour Hersh—how did the legendary journalist come to echo the thoughts and ideas of Bashar al-Assad; and Phil Ball examines the crisis of male infertility asking: where has all the sperm gone?