Radical change has been the dream of the UK’s triumphant Brexiteers, but what, beautiful or not, will be born? An absence of clarity about the impact of Brexit on the UK, the rest of Europe, and worldwide will last for a decade at least. The notion that Britain can neatly cut the links binding it to continental Europe will quickly prove absurd, as will the idea that the surgery will be painless and only local.
Giles Merritt was named by the Financial Times in 2010 as one of 30 'Eurostars' who most influence thinking on Europe's future, along with the European Commission's president and the secretary-general of NATO. For 15 years a Financial Times foreign correspondent, Merritt has reported and commented on European affairs since the early 1970s. He went on to found Friends of Europe, one of the leading think tanks in Brussels, and the policy journal Europe's World, of which he is the Editor-in-Chief. He is the author of Slippery Slope: Europe's Troubled Future. His previous books include World Out of Work, an award-winning analysis of unemployment issues, and The Challenge of Freedom, on the difficulties facing post-communist Eastern Europe.