Economic reality is beginning to catch up with the false hopes of the general population. They believed the promises of the popular press that Brexit would not reduce their living standards, so they managed to maintain those standards by running up their household debts.
My foundations and I took up the cause of the Roma people in the early 1980s. When we started this work, most Roma lived in Eastern Europe, which was still under Communist rule. Conditions were not good. Unfortunately, since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Roma’s position in society and the attitude of the majority population have declined much further.
I am greatly honored to be invited to address this illustrious audience. The European Commission, just published a reflection paper on the future of the European Monetary Union, which will open a debate that I greatly welcome. I should like to join the previous speaker in dedicating my remarks to the memory of my great friend Tommaso Padoa Schioppa.
Well before Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, I sent a holiday greeting to my friends that read: “These times are not business as usual. Wishing you the best in a troubled world.” Now I feel the need to share this message with the rest of the world.
The world has been unsettled by a surge in forced migration. Tens of millions of people are on the move, fleeing their home countries in search of a better life abroad. Some are escaping civil war or an oppressive regime; others are forced out by extreme poverty, lured by the possibility of economic advancement for themselves and their families.
The refugee crisis was already leading to the slow disintegration of the European Union. Then, on June 23, it contributed to an even greater calamity — Brexit. Both of these crises have reinforced xenophobic, nationalist movements across the continent. They will try to win a series of key votes in the coming year — including national elections in France, the Netherlands, and Germany in 2017, a referendum in Hungary on EU refugee policy on Oct.
Until the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, the refugee crisis was the greatest problem Europe faced. Indeed, that crisis played a critical role in bringing about the greater calamity of Brexit.
The vote for Brexit was a great shock; the morning after the vote, the disintegration of the European Union seemed practically inevitable.
Britain, I believe, had the best of all possible deals with the European Union, being a member of the common market without belonging to the euro and having secured a number of other opt-outs from EU rules. And yet that was not enough to stop the United Kingdom’s electorate from voting to leave.
David Cameron, along with the Treasury, the Bank of England, the International Monetary Fund and others have been attacked for exaggerating the economic risks of leaving the EU. This criticism has been widely accepted by the British media and many financial analysts.