Yesterday, the exchange rate of the GBP fell lower than $1.4 to the pound, which hasn’t been registered since 2009, when the world financial and economic crisis was at its height, ITAR-TASS reports. The UK Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, associates this with the fact that the business community fears that the UK may withdraw from the EU: “Uncertainty leads to an instant and negative reaction from the financial markets.” London demands that Brussels reject imposing its monetary policy on Britain and making London provide financial support to the countries of the eurozone.
Nikolay Topornin, Associate Professor of European law at the MGIMO university of the Foreign Ministry of Russia, thinks that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will lead to both economic and image losses for the Union. “The EU economy is based on three pillars: the economies of Germany, France and the UK. If Britain votes for secession from the European Union in the referendum, economically, the European Union will suffer serious losses… In case of secession, the UK has an opportunity to interact with the EU. Firstly, the Lisbon Treaty established a minimum two-year period of separation of any country from the European Union. And secondly, there is this model, which is approved by Switzerland.”
Topornin reminds that Switzerland is not an EU member state. Switzerland held a referendum in 1992 on the issue of interaction, or perhaps even accession to the EU: “The majority of Swiss citizens voted for Switzerland not being a part of the European Union. However, over these years, perhaps, since the late 1990s and 2000s, that is, over the past 20-25 years, economically Switzerland has moved closer to the European Union. More than 120 economic, social and infrastructural agreements were signed, based on which Switzerland is now almost integrated economically into the single economic space.”
Topornin says that another example is Norway: “The country is not a member of the EU, not introducing or intending to introduce the European currency, the euro, nevertheless it signed an agreement on the creation of a free trade zone, joined the Schengen zone, and also actively cooperates economically.”
“Therefore, no tragedy for Britain would happen. The European Union is likely to lose more, because it will lose such an important, actually it is essential, political support of Britain in the EU. Because when there is this triumvirate – London, Paris, Berlin – the EU’s credibility and the economic power of the EU in the international arena, of course, increases. This will surely force to a major restructuring of the EU itself to be carried out. Two million Britons are working in the European Union. Millions of migrants from Eastern European EU member states – Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, the Baltic countries, are already working in Britain. Here, both Britain and the EU will suffer losses. In this situation no one will emerge victorious,” Topornin thinks.