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Opinion
Leonid Bershidsky

Losing the U.K. Wouldn't Be So Bad for Europe

A British exit could tighten unity and make the EU more globally competitive.
EU flags.

EU flags.

Photographer: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

Discussions of a possible U.K. exit from the European Union often center on how the move would affect the U.K. itself. It's only natural, since British voters are the ones who will make the decision, and they care mainly about their own country. There are two sides to any divorce, however, and the relatively passive partner -- in this case the EU -- must also consider the impact of losing the U.K.

The most obvious and most talked-about consequence for the EU would be the bad precedent: Britain's departure would establish for the first time that the bloc can shrink, not just expand. But that may not be too important. Other EU countries won't necessarily want to leave just because the U.K. does.