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Brexit pain prompts second thoughts

China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-05 07:31

AROUND 54 PERCENT OF OVER 1,000 INTERVIEWEES in the United Kingdom said they wanted to remain a member of the European Union, while just 46 percent were in favor of Brexit, according to the latest survey by the polling and market research agency Survation. Beijing News commented on Tuesday:

The Survation report, which concludes that UK voters might choose differently if another Brexit referendum was held, is a mirror of the changing public sentiment in the country. Prime Minister Theresa May's setback in last month's snap general election suggests that more UK citizens are feeling the pain following the decision to separate from the EU.

Their "nostalgia" for the good old days before the vote to leave is understandable. The UK's divorce from the world's largest single market means they may lose privileges such as visa-free travel within the bloc. The British currency faces further devaluation, and UK enterprises could be tempted to leave their country to maintain their EU operations, adding to the risk of job cuts in the UK.

At a European summit last month, May promised to make a "fair and serious" offer to guarantee the rights of 3 million EU citizens living in the UK. Her offer, of course, will hinge on a reciprocal deal covering 1 million UK citizens living in the remaining 27 EU countries.

That should add some certainty to the Brexit negotiations, highlighting the fact that London and Brussels still need each other as much as they did half a century ago.

The UK made strenuous efforts then to be included in the bloc, which was called the European Community, before it finally gained entry in 1973. It helped build the bloc's monetary system, contributed to the free flow of personnel, commodities, capital and services, and enhanced the EU's defense capabilities. On the other hand, it relies heavily on the EU market. A happy breakup is virtually impossible then.

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