Three and a half years after Britons voted to take back sovereignty, to elect their masters and set their destinies, Britain has finally departed the European Union.
Congratulations to the British electorate. The road to this independence day hasn't been as hard as enduring the Blitz or winning the Battle of Britain, but it has been a hell of a fight. It took two general elections and numerous parliamentary votes to secure what Britons voted for in June 2016. Until Prime Minister Boris Johnson won his new parliamentary majority in December, Brexit seemed increasingly unlikely.
In short, this is a very big deal. For the first time since Britain first joined the European Communities in 1973 — it became the European Union only later — its citizens are back in full control of their judiciary and legislature. This is a victory for the principle that a nation is best served when those in power are bound closely, in action and geography, to the citizens under a democratic rule of law.
Britain and the 27 nations that remain within the EU are America's allies and are important trading partners. They remain these same things to Britain, as well. The priority now is to ensure that Brexit marks the beginning of an end to political recriminations and a new recognition of boundaries. Good fences, as the saying goes, make for good neighbors.
There exists a danger that Brussels bureaucrats will try to hamper Britain's post-Brexit prosperity by attempting to regulate its international business dealings. Standing alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel last November, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that the EU would not tolerate Britain becoming a major economic competitor. This is a silly attitude when everyone will benefit from trade — the freer, the better.
Macron's and Merkel's short-sighted concern is that Britain, newly free of EU strictures, will make its economy better for business and investors. The perception that Britain is better off outside the EU than it had been inside it could give other EU member states ideas, creating an existential threat to the Eurocrats' grand objective of establishing a politically integrated United States of Europe.
But it would be tragic to see allies feud. Britain, the EU, and the United States would all benefit from a comprehensive trade deal between Britain and the EU, as well as corollary trade deals between the U.S. and Britain, and between the U.S. and the EU.
Such deals are all either being negotiated or set to begin, but it is only a broad set of free trade-based arrangements that will ensure all our citizens win from Brexit. Britain will necessarily have to abide by certain EU regulations to retain its export market with the bloc, but, beyond necessary regulations, the EU should give Britain space to innovate in its economy and increase its trade with America, the British Commonwealth, China, and the rest of the world.
If this makes Britain newly dynamic, then the EU stands to benefit from having it as a partner. This course will make European economic growth the shared outcome of mutual prosperity, rather than an exclusionary outcome.
REPRINTED FROM THE COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE
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