Ana Palacio: The Causes and Consequences of Brexit – Project Syndicate
Past experience shows that, when voters make such decisions, they rarely focus on the issue at hand. In referenda on the EU’s draft constitution in 2005, for example, the Dutch focused on the euro, while the French worried that Polish plumbers would take their jobs.
So far, the signs indicate that the upcoming British referendum will follow the same pattern, with voters focusing more on simplistic ideas, prejudices, and emotions than pragmatic considerations. And the anti-EU camp has been by far the more passionate – and the more inflammatory in its rhetoric – side.
From a European perspective, this is deeply worrying. It is well known that a British departure would deal a devastating blow to European integration, possibly causing an already-fragile process to unravel.