"It's probably for the best if the British vote to leave the EU" Author: Michaël Torfs

Tue 23/02/2016 - 11:40 Michaël Torfs Belgium's Paul De Grauwe, a Professor at the London School of Economics, thinks a Brexit would be the best thing for everyone in the long run. He told the VRT's evening news show 'Terzake' that the anti-European feelings in the United Kingdom are very strong, and that they won't disappear if the British would vote to stay in the EU.

De Grauwe has been living and working in the UK for 4 years now. "There is a lot of hatred against Europe. The media and a major part of the political elite dislike the European Union. This will not disappear after the referendum."

"The goal of these anti-EU people is to bring as much sovereignty back from Brussels to London as possible." It would not be a good thing if the British people vote to stay in the EU, he argues. "The anti-Europeans will just continue their strategy. They will block all efforts to integrate further, and they will try to have powers devolved to Westminster again. This is not in the EU's interests. That is why it's probably better for the EU that the British leave."

However, will a Brexit be to the benefit of the British? De Grauwe is not sure, but thinks "probably not". He estimates that it is not economic issues that will gain the upper hand in the polling station, but emotional issues.

Talking about the economy, this does not have to be a disaster, he thinks. "Britain will have to negotiate a new trade deal with the EU in the short term. There may a problem, but only during a period of transition." This would be the lesser of two evils, as in the other case Britain would be a kind of Trojan horse within the EU, De Grauwe concludes.