To survive the Brexit, the EU must chiefly listen and act (Charles Rault)

Charles Rault, Executive Director of Cyceon, warned investors that they must not take the Brexit lightly considering that this is an unprecedented development within the EU with unknown consequences. Rault sees the Brexit vote as a good indication that the British democracy is well and alive stressing that anything that’s democratic is very welcomed in times of high uncertainty. British Prime Minister David Cameron acted like a genuine gentleman, Rault added, setting an example for his European counterparts. Rault thinks the Brexit resulted more from Europe’s “identity crisis” than from any nationalist movement and claims that Europeans have in fact never been as European as they are today. If the EU wants to survive, it has to listen to the people and act accordingly, concluded Rault who answered our questions below:

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Charles Rault has worked as an analyst and consultant on international relations issues for more than a decade. He elaborated scenarii, measures and plans for diverse institutions and large companies, and helped to assess risks. Rault participated in multilateral initiatives across the globe which aimed to gather, analyze and exploit data useful for international security and foreign policy objectives. As the Executive Director of Cyceon, a strategic, economic and financial news service, and thanks to his strong ties within the international community, Charles Rault brings renewed expertise in the large field of information analysis.

The Interview

1) The UK has voted with 51.9% of the total vote in favor of the Brexit, the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU). What’s your first reaction on this historic day?

C.R.: First and foremost, the Brexit did happen and what I’d point out first is this has really been a great surprise for many prominent people, within political and business circles. At Cyceon, we repeatedly wrote that the defiance against the EU had reached unprecedented levels, thus making a Brexit very possible. It means the “elites” have been unable to forecast what the voters would choose, and despite all the predictive systems, polls and social networks, it showed there can still be unexpected historic episode. What I’d tell investors immediately is “don’t take the Brexit lightly”, this is an unprecedented development within the EU and nobody knows what the consequences will be in the medium and the long term, both from financial and political viewpoints. The weeks ahead will tell us more about the consequences of the Brexit.

2) What does the Brexit mean in political terms? How do you interpret British Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to step down?

C.R.: I’d like to start with a refreshing note which is the high turnout (72%) of the referendum that showed the British democracy is well and alive. Whatever the interpretation one can do about the Brexit, it’s always a good thing when the turnout’s high. I disagree with growing criticism saying that British Prime Minister David Cameron provoked the Brexit and should have never organized the referendum. I believe Cameron was right to give the British people this opportunity to decide and his decision to step down next October sets an example for many political leaders across Europe. Cameron has lost the Brexit vote, however he behaved like a true British gentleman by putting his own political career at risk and by putting democracy above everything else.

3) Are we witnessing the rise of a trans-European nationalist movement and if so, should we be worried about such a trend?

C.R.: I don’t think the Brexit resulted from a rise in nationalist ideas. Summing up the Brexit as a winning move by so-called nationalists, neo-fascists, and so on would be a very inexact assessment of the situation. I’d rather say that the EU didn’t see coming what has become an “identity crisis” of many Europeans who are very concerned about their future as a civilization, as a culture and as a way of life in face of globalization, mass immigration and terrorism. The EU jeopardized its own future by apparently prioritizing everything that’s outside Europe – negotiation with Turkey for instance. Europeans want – including those who voted for the Brexit – a Europe that prioritizes Europe, nothing else, like what the US does for itself, like what Russia and China do for themselves about everything. As a result, Brussels has looked more and more disconnected from Europeans’ day-to-day life; and the British democracy has somehow reminded Brussels how poorly democratic it has grown over the years.

4) Are you saying the EU is over, that the dream of United States of Europe has ended?

C.R.: The EU has a clear choice: defend Europe’s interests and take the people seriously, or disappear for good. Europeans have in fact never been as European as they are today. From an ideological standpoint, the Brexit isn’t a vote against Europe, this is a vote against how Europe is being organized, regulated and ruled by the EU. Therefore the EU has to question, review and adjust the way it deals with its citizens and it has to step up the defense of Europe’s interests abroad. Europeans want a Europe that is European, not a Europe that’s under US or Chinese or any other influence. This is quite simple in fact. The EU can survive if it realizes it is at the service of the European people, and not the contrary. Unfortunately, now that the Brexit has taken place, the EU will never be the same without the UK. The Brexit is a huge blow to the EU. This is a pity because the EU is a great project actually, and let’s be fair, the EU has also achieved good things for the Europeans. Maybe the EU has to be dismantled in order to be re-built on a stronger, more realist basis. Given the big challenges ahead with emerged economic giants like China, global security threats and so on, although it may sound contradictory just a few hours after the Brexit, the idea of a united Europe has never been so crucial. Europe is at a very critical juncture. Political leaders must listen to the people and act accordingly now otherwise the EU is at a very high risk of disappearing.