What Other Countries Think About Brexit (or is it “The Great British Break Off?”)

I wanted to look at what other countries (mainly taken at random) thought about UK’s Brexit. You should note that the comments made by other nationals are made from their point of view, and that should be respected, even though you may not agree with them.

The French mainstream politicians have shown little interest for our Brexit. Many feel it’s a good for the EU as the UK has never really wanted to integrate and Brussels will be a more comfortable place after we leave. There is little sympathy for the 300,000 plus French civilians living in London as they are, incorrectly, seen as tax avoiders.

India had said, when May went to India promoting UK trade links, that they are in no rush to do a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain and will demand easier access for Indians nationals to migrate to Britain as part of any future trade relationship. The Indian High Commissioner has since reinforced this view.

The Germans think of the Brits as fellow ‘Northerners’ that work hard, share similar values and have the misfortune of not being born in Germany 🙂  of all the EU countries, the Germans have taken the Brexit decision most to heart. They now firmly believe in the European project and anyone, who rejects it, is seen as rejecting them.

BMW urged Angela Merkel to ensure that UK has a good deal as they are concerned that a failure to secure a good Brexit agreement with Britain could affect its £2.4bn annual exports from the UK. However, BMW has said if, after Brexit, customs delays are clogging up supplies they will seriously look to move – putting 8000 jobs at risk.

Eighty per cent of the American public (not the politicians) favoured UK’s Brexit. However, American politicians have frequently indicated if the UK leaves the EU, completing trade deals with us is not a priority for them and have repeatedly advised us to stay in the EU.

North Korea’s official opinion on Brexit is that it’s all America’s fault.

The Chinese do generally not proffer an opinion as they are always worried that others will judge them on their human rights record. However, the Chinese President Xi Jinping, when visiting the U.K., apparently said in private that China supported Britain remaining in the EU

Russians businesspeople are not happy about Brexit as the negative effect on global markets will be adverse for them. The politicians in Russian, however, do not agree with this view and feel the political divide is more significant. Russian politicians support the Brexit process because it takes the pressure of them (sanctions following partition of Ukraine) while the EU focuses on a Brexit deal.

The Governor of Gibraltar says that 10,000 people cross the border from Spain daily to work and their contribution to the island is vital. Closing the border with Spain will adversely affect the island.

Former President of the Maldives said that Brexit would damage EU and Commonwealth relations as the UK will no longer be there to offer a voice for the Commonwealth.

The Nordic countries who admire the British feel, if we eventually leave, we will have left them behind.

The World Bank notes that “The major effect of the Brexit vote is the withdrawal of the UK from the EU project of deep economic integration, raising the possibility that the same doubts that gave rise to Brexit lead to an interruption of trade openness and integration in other parts of the world.”

The previous Italian PM Matteo Renzi was confident that the UK would vote to remain. He is reported to have said, “If there is one thing that the British have never done in front of a challenge that affects their future is making the wrong choice.”

Boy… was he wrong

* Tahir Maher is a member of the LDV editorial team and the Chair of the English Party

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This entry was posted in News and Op-eds.


  • Peter Hirst 23rd Aug '18 - 4:33pm

    I’m not sure about the Italian PM’s remarks but most of the countries you mention must wonder why we’re doing it. Of course, at least those in the eu have had a longer period of sharing polices and the overriding global emphasis is on forming trading blocks, at least before Trump came along. I can’t help but think that many countries consider this Brexit process to be political that it is and they know only too well how we were not so long ago the major trading country and empire.

  • Peter Martin 23rd Aug '18 - 5:28pm

    I just noticed this on a Facebook page, written by a German author:

    “This is also expressed in the holy belief in parliamentary sovereignty. One of the most important arguments for Brexit is that it is not in Brussels but in Westminster (the British Parliament) that legislation must be decided. During my academic year in London, I regularly asked my British fellow students what was wrong in concrete terms with European regulations, but I never received a clear answer. Without exception, I was told: “It’s about the principle.”

    As long as the usually so pragmatic British are still clinging to such abstract principles, they will always be half-hearted towards the EU. The idea of ​​parliamentary sovereignty is incompatible with the idea behind – and the reality of – European integration. The European states are so deeply interwoven that they have to take joint decisions; going it all alone is simply impossible in the current multipolar world.

    It therefore makes no sense whatsoever to try to keep the United Kingdom in the boat.

    It’s pretty much right IMO. Except I wouldn’t use the term ‘holy’ about a belief in Parliamentary democracy. Neither is it an abstract principle. It’s very pragmatic. We might not like Mrs May but we do accept that she won the election and has a popular mandate to govern. Democracy, imperfect though it may be, has to be more important than Socialism, Liberalism, Social Democracy, and Conservatism. It’s what binds us all together.

  • Peter Martin 23rd Aug '18 - 6:11pm

    A significant number of Europeans are more than a little sick and tired of the UK’s traditionally lukewarm embrace of the EU. It’s a rebate here, exception there, special rules and opt-outs elsewhere. There is a more than justified perception that the UK, as a whole, never wanted to pull its weight but looked at European integration as if it was merely a economic rather than a political project. That we were saying “They can use the euro of they like. Just leave us out of it!”

    Probably wasn’t true for all us Brits, but it was and is for more than a few. Even those who like to call themselves remainers!

    Right now it must feel to EUopeans like a Partner leaving after a life spent together, with comments of “it was never love” and “the sex was sh*t and I faked all orgasms” as parting shots! The prospect of said partner reluctantly returning because the fridge is rather well stocked can’t really be all that appealing 🙂

    In other words we aren’t really European as the the other 27 countries would like us to be. We both have to accept that.

  • Peter Martin 23rd Aug '18 - 8:39pm

    ” The Germans think of the Brits as fellow ‘Northerners’ that work hard, share similar values and have the misfortune of not being born in Germany”

    No! They don’t.

    They think we are very different. This is Henning Berg on the question of debt. Maybe jump to the 2:50 mark.

  • Since when has Gibraltar been an island?

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