In the UK, some people seem to think the sky is falling in as a result of the recent vote to leave the EU. Nobody can deny that Brexit is a major event and one that will have an impact on countries across Europe. However, from the perspective of Romania, it does not mean the end of the world.
The Romanian leadership remains convinced that membership of the EU is still very much a good thing for the country. President Klaus Johannis, with all party support, stated this hours after the UK vote had taken place and emphasized a need to stay calm and not overreact.
There also seems to be a general view that Brexit will not have serious repercussions for the Romanian economy, despite the early shockwaves that hit the global market. Whilst there is genuine sorrow and anger about the way events have unfolded, there is also a renewed determination by the 27 remaining EU members to make the European project a success story.
Romania fought hard to get into the EU and has seen genuine advantages from its membership, with an economy that is one of the most dynamic in the world. It will be able to use this growth as leverage for gaining a bigger influence on the EU in the future.
Ironically, the UK was a driving force behind expanding the EU to include ex-Communist countries. Many Romanians are a little puzzled as to why it now wants to leave, but respect the result of a democratic vote.
Of course one of the biggest impacts of Brexit could be on those Romanians who work in the UK or have planned to do so in the future. The rights and status of Romanian nationals in the UK does not change for now while the UK remains a member of the EU as has been confirmed by the UK Government.
Whilst there are no guarantees. It is hoped that the UK is unlikely to prevent Romanians already established in the UK from working in the country following full EU withdrawal. The statement of the UK Government on this says ‘When we do leave the EU, we fully expect that the legal status of EU nationals living in UK, and that of UK nationals in EU member states will be properly protected.’
There can be no guarantees but with millions of Brits working in Europe, a settlement would be beneficial for all sides and something approaching the current status quo would seem to be a sensible and likely outcome. The position of those planning to come to work in the UK after the UK leaves will be addressed as part of the Brexit negotiations.
Whatever the eventual outcome of Brexit, the actual process is not going to happen overnight and there will be time to assess, negotiate and plan for future developments. It’s also very likely that Romania and the UK will continue to have good and profitable relationships.
The attractions of the Romanian economy will continue to bring in investment from non-EU countries which, of course, will include the UK some time in the future.
So, Brexit is not the end of the world. Indeed, it might be start of a new one that further benefits Romania. The votes have been counted and it’s time to look forward to the future.