Brexit will be so painful no one will follow, says Finland

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Britain’s departure from the European Union sets a precedent. But not in the way you might think. Instead of showing other EU members that it’s possible to exit the bloc, Brexit will make clear just how economically agonising the process is, and frighten others away from ever considering a similar path, according to Finland’s Finance Minister Petteri Orpo. “This divorce, after 40 years of marriage, is inevitably going to be so painful that no one will want to feel it for themselves,” Orpo said in an interview at his office in Helsinki. “I believe it’s going to be a precedent no one will want to follow.”

The UK’s determination to move ahead with Brexit is creating unity among the 27 nations that will remain in the bloc, and making them “more decisive” than they were before, Orpo said. “If that spirit remains, it will take Europe forward.” The EU that emerges from the disruption of Britain’s departure may well function better. 

Finland could accept a so-called two-speed Europe, in which groups of countries would deepen integration at varying paces for different issues within the EU treaties, instead of the current system of a one-size-fits-all model with the occasional opt-out, the minister said.
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