Britanci, ki so glasovali za izhod iz EU, so si ta izhod predstavljali zelo romantično in naivno: glasuješ za izhod, vlada sporoči v Bruselj, da želi zapustiti skupnost evropskih držav in zadeva je opravljena. Tja, zadeva je precej bolj zakomplicirana. Tudi če države nimajo skupne valute, tudi če niso zelo močno finančno povezane (ni veliko tokov iz kmetijskih in strukturnih sredstev) in tudi če niso institucionalno in vojaško prepletene, državo, ki hoče ven, čakajo naporna in dolgotrajna pogajanja – o tem, kakšne bodo oblike sodelovanja po izhodu. Treba je namreč urediti status medsebojnih trgovinskih tokov (kako prosta bo trgovina, kakšne bodo kvote za uvoz), kako prosti bodo tokovi kapitala in prebivalcev. Preostale EU države namreč zahtevajo recipročnost ali pa še malce več.
Zanimiva je izkušnja iz Grenlandije, ki je vstopila v EU (tedanjo Evropsko skupnost) leta 1973 (skupaj z Britanijo), nato pa so Grendlandci že leta 1979 na referendumu dvetretjinsko glasovali za izhod, tri leta kasneje (1982) pa na novem referendumu dokončno glasovali za izhod – zaradi zaščite ribiške industirje in ker niso želeli v EU biti kot danska kolonija. Toda tedaj se je kalvarija šele začela. Pogajanja so trajala tri leta, vmes je padla vlada, nato pa je leta 1985 (tri leta po referendumu) Grendlandija končno izstopila iz EU. Zanimivo pa je, da v nasprotju črnoslutneži izstop ekonomsko ni bil katastrofa, saj je Grendlandija ob izstopu hitro okrevala in nato pospešeno gospodarsko rasla.
Spodaj lahko preberete grenlandske izstopne izkušnje – Uffe Ellemann-Jensen je bil glavni pogajalec. Na podlagi njegovega pričevanja lahko britanski izstop dejankso izgleda kot pesem Hotel California (The Eagles): You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave!
There’s a man in the European Union who has already led a country out of the bloc. His name is Uffe Ellemann-Jensen. He’s a former foreign minister of Denmark who handled negotiations on Greenland after its citizens voted to leave the EU in 1982.
With a population of just 56,000 and a gross domestic product of about $2.5 billion, Greenland still took three years to exit. Ellemann-Jensen says any notion in Britain that all it needs to do is trigger Article 50 and two years later it will be out is illusory.
“Negotiating Greenland’s exit was a fairly simple task that resulted in a relatively simple and easy to understand protocol,” Ellemann-Jensen, 74, said in an interview. “That took three years. Britain will take much longer. It’s impossible to say how long.”
As part of the Kingdom of Denmark, Greenland joined the EU — or the European Communities, as it was then called — in 1973. (That, coincidentally, is the same year the U.K. joined). In a 1979 referendum, more than two-thirds of Greenlanders backed home rule. With voters feeling they’d been dragged into the EU as a Danish colony, the island held an in-out referendum three years later to protect its fishing industry, which makes up about 90 percent of Greenland’s exports. Anger over quotas resulted in 53 percent of voters backing an EU exit.
Ellemann-Jensen led the talks together with Greenland’s business minister, Lars-Emil Johansen. The latter later went on to become the island’s premier and is now chairman of its parliament. The 69-year-old says the EU didn’t give Greenland a timetable. “But we had to do a lot of waiting,” Johansen said in an interview.
Two years into Greenland’s exit process, havoc broke out at home, Johansen recalls.
The exit deal struck by his minority government “was under attack by a broad part of the population who thought we sold ourselves too cheaply on our fishing rights,” he said.
The result was that for the first time in Greenland’s history, a government was toppled over an agreement that had already been approved by parliament. The no-confidence vote triggered an election in 1984.
“It was a huge deal for domestic politics in Greenland,” Johansen said. “The doomsday prophets said that Greenland could never get an exit deal that would be as beneficial as the conditions under EC membership.”
But Johansen’s Siumut party was re-elected and the island left the EU the following year. Greenland’s economy then expanded in the years following the exit, “proving doomsday prophets wrong,” Johansen said.
“Everybody knew Greenland was strategically important and the Europeans needed to make a deal that kept the Greenlanders happy,” he said. “The U.K. and Europe remain crucial to their mutual security, so neither has any interest in Britain drifting too far off to sea.”
Ultimately, Britain will need to find a solution that doesn’t make life difficult for the remaining EU members, Ellemann-Jensen said. A pragmatic fix might be to copy Denmark’s opt-out model, which in its case keeps it out of Europe’s currency, defense and justice unions.
“The opt-outs have been a pain in the backside for Denmark, but have allowed the rest of the member states to move along without any obstacles,” he said. “In the end, I believe that will be the most feasible solution that the British should hope for.”