Parties in the Netherlands regret Britain’s decision to leave the European Union but are also motivated to press ahead with their own plans to reform the bloc.
Halbe Zijlstra, the parliamentary leader of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s liberal party, said on Monday that he understands the British were dissatisfied with the “European express train that keeps thundering on.”
“This sentiment lives in the Netherlands as well,” he said.
François Heisbourg reports from Paris that Britain’s decision to leave is a diplomatic disaster for France, Europe’s only other nuclear power.
Whitehall’s energies will be devoted to negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU over the next two years. That will distract its attention from the United Nations where Britain and France often work together as permanent members of the Security Council.
The French will press for the continued implementation of the Lancaster House defense treaty, which binds the two countries in military terms, writes Heisbourg, notably in the crucial area of nuclear warhead stewardship.
There’s a problem there in terms of Scotland’s renewed independence bid. The British nuclear deterrent is based in Faslane, Scotland. The ruling SNP has been opposed to their presence for years. If Scotland secedes from the United Kingdom, a new base would have to be found for the nuclear-armed submarines, which could leave France as the only Western power this side of the Atlantic with a credible nuclear deterrent for several years. It’s not a position the French like to be in. Read more “British EU Exit Would Be Diplomatic Disaster for France”
There’s been a tendency the last few days in the United States to make Britain’s EU referendum about America. Commentators are wondering what this will mean for Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions, given that his nativist platform isn’t too dissimilar from the leave campaign in the United Kingdom. They wonder what it effect it will have on transatlantic relations, given Britain’s “special relationship” with the United States.
Some of this is self-indulgent, some of it makes sense.
Perhaps the best reflections on what Britain’s decision to leave the EU means for the United States come from Walter Russell Mead in The American Interest.