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Off The British Charts, One Year After Brexit

Flags and bridges in Taipei
Where are the lads?
Arnaud de La Grange

PARIS — Donald Tusk had a dream: The United Kingdom was staying in the European Union — For him, this vision isn't just a pure imaginary digression. The European Council president even appealed to the words of one of Britain's most famous voices, quoting John Lennon's "Imagine": "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

Not the only one to dream? Probably not, judging by the wave of recent statements. In his interview this week to Le Figaro, along with seven other European newspapers, French President Emmanuel Macron said "the door is open until the moment you walk through it." In Berlin, meanwhile, German officials think "it would be great if they were to reverse the Brexit decision." One wonders if Europeans truly believe a U-turn is possible or whether they're just being mischievous, pleased to have the chance to tease British Prime Minister Theresa May, who for a long time appeared so self-confident…

Could it be that something is rotten in the state of Brexit? The British people voted in favor of leaving the EU for fear of losing control over their destiny, but now it seems their leaders are losing control of the machine. The impetus towards the open sea was shattered by May's disastrous electoral gamble. And as far as the economy goes, alarm signals are starting to sound. Opinion polls show that more and more Brits are unsure, even though the majority still thinks that things should go on as decided.

The fog shouldn't hinder Europeans

So, will Brexit happen? Will it be hard, semi-hard, soft, semi-soft? It's been one year and nobody knows where we're headed, now even less than before. The fog shouldn't hinder Europeans from seeing their own path. And from taking action. Opinion polls show that the British wanderings have reinforced the European peoples' attachment to the continental Union, when one year ago, they were increasingly falling out of love with it, raising fears of a domino effect.

Emmanuel Macron and his peers shouldn't let the moment pass. If they settle for the self-satisfied preachifying, if they let the bureaucratic monster tie its napkin, it will be a disaster. And we won't be singing "Imagine" anymore, but another British classic instead: "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction…"

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Cosme Damián Peña Suárez del Real and his grandmother, Beatriz Islas, make necklaces and bracelets at their home in Tecámac, Mexico.

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