Editorial: keep it cool, Brexit or not

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Photo: Urmas Nemvalts

In the increasing confusion following the Brexit referendum, the dust of the explosion will take it's time settling. Thus far, not really clear if the UK is indeed exiting though the narrow result would indeed dictate that. 

Forgetting the Britons for a second, remarkable have been the reactions on mainland Europe, too. The post-referendum sabre-rattling by European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker and German foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier feels out of place. One might understand the thinking of let’s get it over with, and David Cameron has indeed triggered a game of poker with the European future out of personal and party gain. On the other hand, the president of the commission who when entering office personally prioritised «providing an answer to the British question» should seriously contemplate following the example of Mr Cameron who responded to failure by promising to step down.

Much more sensible in her reactions was the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Never should EU negotiations with UK be mean or spiteful, but rather pragmatic and businesslike. As a crafty yet not too hostile rhetoric move, Ms Merkel said the UK citizens have opted out of the common market. Thinking of history, that’s the very thing the Britons have been after. Often, more actively so that the mainland itself. Meanwhile, they have been wary of the ever political union and in the British minds, the United States of Europe ghost has often been blown larger than life.

Meanwhile, many are the reasons to be benevolent and to abstain from thoughtless insults. Firstly, the British society is split at the moment and there are several versions for the UK not exiting after all. And even if they do, they will remain a vital trade partner and ally. It’s an old democracy and the free world needs every one of its cornerstones. The more so that it is among the few NATO nations in reality sticking to common defence spending commitments.

In Estonia, many have sought to portray Brexit as something nice and fun, meant to domino-effect the EU to its unravelling. Such a view is short-sighted to the extreme or even mean. Even so, the EU obviously needs to look into its common rear-view mirror. At that, we and especially the politicians are expected to table reasonable proposals and not some general and at that mostly populist babble about some Moloch making decisions without Estonia having a say. It does.