Eleven days before the UK vote on staying in the EU or living it, the polls show tight votes for yes or no.
Nevertheless, a dynamic seems to play in the “no’ direction. Two weeeks ago, the yes had performed a modest breakthrough, which today seems reversed.
Thus it’s a poker strike which will decide on one of the major events of the european history.
The press reports on the campaign but remains discrete on “the day after”.
In the case of staying, no major wave is expected, except a tough british line on current issues. In Brussels, Mr Cameron will not be in a position to ignore that half of his fellowcitizens have wished that he woul’nt seat there anymore.
The case of exit seems more complex. Besides the political future of the British Premier, two problems will raise: the conditions for the exit and whether the 27 will give a new impetus to Europe.
1/ The answer to the 1st question ins provided for by article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union, introduced in the european law by the Lisbon treaty.
Article 50 para 2 “In the light ot the oritentations of the European Council, the Union concludes with this State (nb: the one which leaves) an agreement establishing the modalities of its withdrawal, taking into account the framework of its future relations with the Union”
Article 50 para 3 “The treaties cease to be applicable to the concerned State starting from the date of implementation of the withdrawal agreement or at least two years after the notification (of the intention to withdraw) unless the European Council, in agreement with the concerned Member State, decides unanimously to extend this timeframe”
Thus, contrary to what one could believe, the Uk would not leave the EU the day after the referendum. A long negociation would start to establish future relations between London and its partners. And during this one, the British would keep their member state status.
2/ Would a British exit allow a new start for Europe ?
If no initiative is taken, the contrary is likely. The rise of euroscepitcism in Northern, Central Europe or even France will feed itself from the british decsion, which some will propose to copy.
Thus it will belong to the franco-german tandem to find back its capacity of proposals. Table back all that London used to block: give up unanimity on taxes, the end of rebates, building a real Immigration and Azylum Europe, social Europe, the CSDP on which a link with the UK will have to be preserved.
Of course, a number of States will not follow that move, because they approved the London stand or used to hide themselves behaind it. But the opportunity will come to build this “noyau dur” on which we have been talking for twenty years, but from which we have more and more got apart.