Europeans fear death of a dream as UK shuffles aside

From Poland to Paris, ordinary EU citizens are worried about how life will look after Brexit, writes Paddy Agnew


Last week Boris Johnson quit as UK foreign secretary, his attempts to secure a hard Brexit frustrated. Photo: Bloomberg
Last week Boris Johnson quit as UK foreign secretary, his attempts to secure a hard Brexit frustrated. Photo: Bloomberg

Brexit is a vital question in Poland, it is not just an academic consideration. “We have 700,000 Poles stuck in the UK and, when Britain leaves, what is going to happen to them?”

The speaker is old friend and colleague Jacek Palasinski, experienced Warsaw-based correspondent of Polish channel tvn24. In the early 1980s, because of his support for Solidarnosc leader Lech Walesa, he was forced to flee his native, then Eastern Bloc communist Poland, hidden in the boot of a car, bound for Italy.

Almost 40 years later, he is increasingly pessimistic about the future of the European Union which has provided wealth, well-being and security in post-communist Poland. British and Irish observers might sometimes wonder if their obsession with Brexit and the potential damage it could yet inflict on the European ‘dream’ is equally shared by other EU countries. They need worry no longer. Just about everyone is terrified – everyone, that is, other than the Brexiteers.

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