Brexit would create "earthquake" for Britain, says Minister
United Kingdom – Interview given by M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to France 24
New York, 11 June 2016
Q. – Brexit is the subject everyone is talking about in Europe. So, this week you said it would obviously be a very bad thing if the leave vote won in the United Kingdom. Is it as certain as that? Wasn’t what was finally negotiated in February at European level, the concessions made to the United Kingdom – throughout Europe we’re seeing very negative opinions of the European Union –, isn’t Europe so weakened that the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union would be an opportunity for a fresh start?
THE MINISTER – An exit would create an earthquake. An earthquake for Europe, destabilization obviously, even though it would recover – it has enough strength to do that. At the same time, it would create an earthquake for Britain itself.
If this vote wins, it’s a bit like entering the unknown. But I’m confident, I believe that at the last moment – a referendum campaign is always very tough and occasionally very controversial, very intense – the British will think again and say to themselves: “where’s our historical interest?”, and they’ll decide to remain.
In any case, what you’re talking about, i.e. a Europe bringing less hope and fewer dreams than it has done at other times, is going to compel us – Europe’s political leaders – to respond to people’s expectations.
What could be done? There are initiatives which must be taken very swiftly to revitalize the European project, not only by technical but political means. (…)./.