英国がEU離脱へ 内向き志向の連鎖を防げ

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 25
EDITORIAL: ‘Brexit’ vote must not trigger wave of global nationalism
(社説)英国がEU離脱へ 内向き志向の連鎖を防げ

The British people’s decision to pull their country out of the European Union has sent shock waves across the world.

The stunning decision could turn out to be the biggest tectonic shift in the world order since the end of the Cold War.

A majority of votes cast in the June 23 referendum on whether to leave the EU or remain in the bloc were for “Brexit.” Britons have decided that their country should not be part of an integrated Europe.

Since the end of World War II, Europe has moved steadily toward integration. Britain’s withdrawal from the EU will be a historic development that runs counter to this movement, launched with a pledge of no more war in Europe.

Britain is the second largest economy in Europe and has unique global influence, a legacy of the British Empire. Its secession from the EU will have immeasurable effects on the entire world.

The outcome of the referendum is also a sign of the British people's will to resist globalization, which has accelerated since the end of the Cold War. They have run out of patience with the trend of many countries sharing rules on important issues such as immigration and trade.

This anti-globalization sentiment is, however, not unique to Britain. In the United States and in other parts of Europe, groups trying to take advantage of growing public resentment toward globalization to promote their political agenda for closing the doors of their nations are gaining ground.

At a time when countries should make united efforts to counter burgeoning narrow-minded nationalism, Britain has opted to take the path of expanding the scope of its unilateral actions. In mapping out its future course, Britain will have to navigate through uncharted waters.

No matter how the country’s negotiations with the EU over its withdrawal pan out, the two sides should not lose sight of the importance of maintaining close cooperation.

Britain and the EU can secure mutual benefits and contribute to stability in the world only when they work closely together to tackle challenges.

We strongly hope that the two sides will figure out a way to build a new constructive relationship without undermining the movement toward European integration.


The outcome of this referendum should not be allowed to serve as a starting point for a new, dark chapter of world history in which citizens around the world become estranged from one another.

The first thing is to heal the rift in British society. The bitterly fought referendum left the nation sharply divided.

Campaign debates were often dominated by remarks designed to emphasize the threats of an economic crisis or immigrants.

Amid heightened tensions due to a heated confrontation between the two camps, a member of parliament in the Remain camp was shot to death.

British society is now gripped by a dangerously charged atmosphere.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who passionately called for votes to remain in the EU, has announced he will step down by autumn.

It is, to be sure, natural for the country to have a new leader to draw up a road map for the future.

But his own Conservative Party has been divided between the Leave and the Remain camps. Scotland, which has a strong sense of belonging to the EU, could make a fresh attempt to become independent.

Britain seems to be in for a prolonged period of political turmoil.

Both Cameron and his successor will have to act swiftly to heal the rift within the country and create a conductive environment for cool-headed discussions on the country’s relations with the EU and its position in the world.


Britain, which had a mighty empire in the 19th century, entered a period of serious stagnation in the late 20th century. It was able to shed stagnation and attain new prosperity because it opened its door to the world and rode the wave of globalization to enhance its competitiveness, especially in the financial services industry.

But British citizens who have not benefited from their country’s economic growth have become increasingly disgruntled with the system and worried about their future. As a result, British society as a whole has developed an inward-looking attitude.

Besides people drawn to the reactionary argument that Britain should regain “sovereignty,” many other Britons voted for leaving the EU because of their economic discontent.

Despite the fact that their country has achieved economic growth due to the lowered barriers of national borders, British people have made clear their wish to see high border walls built up again.

This twisted public psychology has also been behind the Trump Phenomenon in the United States and the recent rise of rightist political forces in many other European countries.

Britain’s decision could trigger a wave of movements toward secession from the EU in other member countries.

If in such a political climate Trump is elected U.S. president and Marine Le Pen, the leader of the rightist National Front of France, is elected French president next year, the world will be filled with policies of intolerance.

The situation where the world is dominated by this inward-looking trend must be prevented.

The spread of narrow-minded and self-centered unilateralism among countries will make it impossible for the world to grapple with challenges such as global warming, the proliferation of terrorism and loopholes in taxation.

It is difficult for any industrial nation to maintain its political health.

Low economic growth, declining welfare standards due to fiscal strains and widening income gaps are formidable problems common to industrial nations. Politicians everywhere are struggling to find effective solutions to these problems.

That’s why expanding international cooperation is the only option for countries in tackling these tough challenges.

All nations should reflect afresh on the fact that the only way to deal with problems transcending national borders is through cooperative actions based on collective experiences and wisdom.

We hope Europe will not lose its solid status as a strong, consistent voice for freedom and democratic values.


The impact of Britain’s decision to leave the EU has roiled stock and currency markets. Leading nations should first focus on responding to confusion in financial markets.

In addition to Britain and the EU, the Group of Seven major industrial nations, which also includes Japan and the United States, should play the leading role in securing emergency policy coordination to calm the unnerved markets.

The central banks of the major countries, including the Bank of Japan, are apparently prepared to cooperate in providing cash-strapped financial institutions with dollars.

If an unpredictable situation or the necessity of emergency responses arises, they should take flexible and powerful actions in solid cooperation to prevent a full-blown financial crisis.

by kiyoshimat | 2016-06-26 09:34 | 英字新聞

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