My husband says we are leaving Brussels to sort things out in Britain. Wish it was that easy, but today is just a sad day for Europe.
It’s been an interesting few days in Brussels where the European Commission and Parliament are located. There has been a lot of discussion about Brexit, and now ultimately UK voters have decided with a narrow margin to leave the union.
Our travels through Europe have made us very familiar with the history and origins of the European Union. In Brussels we visited Mini Europa, which on the surface is a cool way to see the major monuments of various member nations in miniature form. However, it’s main purpose is to remind people about why the union came together in the first place.
A direct quote from Mini Europa reads, “A hundred years ago, nationalism and competition between nations led to war.” Thanks to the EU, 28 states that have historically fought for centuries on end (think the 80 Years War, the 100 Years War, WW1, WWII, etc.) have now achieved the longest period of peace since the Roman era.
Unfortunately human nature does not like being regulated and told to conform. Many people don’t accept the concept of the greater good. We live in “me first” times, and this attitude is serving to destroy the depth and breadth of work that has been accomplished since WWII. Bring on populist politicians who shamelessly put out false information and who cater to people’s fears, and we have the result that we saw today.
In a practical sense, the vote doesn’t make sense. Why shut off access to the largest market in the world? Why cut off labour mobility and free trade that make economies prosper? Because you’re scared of people who are different? Maybe because I’m from a country that was built by immigrants I just can’t wrap my brain around that fear.
I do get being scared of extremists. But the shape of borders means nothing to them, so thinking that exiting a cooperative union will solve that problem is a moot point.
Similarly, the flood of refugees is never going to end until conditions have changed that allow for a safe to return. Islands are simply not islands anymore. Even the famous English poet, John Donne, knew this back in the 1500s.
Brussels is a beautiful city, but the day we left it was grey and drizzling after a night of thunderstorms. Rather fitting for the political climate of the day.