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Brexit and the future of European Union

By George Soros | China Daily | Updated: 2016-06-28 07:38

The United Kingdom had the best of all possible deals with the European Union; it was a member of the EU common market while having its own currency. Yet that was not enough to stop the British electorate from voting to leave. Why?

The answer could be seen in opinion polls in the months leading up to the referendum. The European migration crisis and the Brexit debate fed on each other. The "Leave" campaign exploited the deteriorating refugee situation - symbolized by frightening images of thousands of asylum-seekers concentrating in Calais, desperate to enter Britain by any means - to stoke fear of "uncontrolled" immigration from other EU member states. And the EU authorities delayed important decisions on the refugee policy in order to avoid a negative effect on the British referendum vote, thereby perpetuating scenes of chaos like the one in Calais.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to open her country's doors wide to refugees was an inspiring gesture, but it was not properly thought out, because it ignored the pull factor. A sudden influx of asylum-seekers disrupted people's everyday lives across the EU.

Brexit and the future of European Union

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