Business Irish

Sunday 21 January 2018

The Punt: No prizes for guessing what UK exit from EU would mean for us

We're all well versed on the eurosceptic nature of the British and of proposals for an in/out referendum in 2017.

The Punt hopes the public will see sense and reject the view that Britain's interests lie outside of the EU, not least because of the potential impact that a withdrawal would have on Ireland.

But so real is the prospect that the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has made it the subject of an award – the Brexit prize – to determine if the UK could have a "free and prosperous" economy outside of the EU.

Having been asked to come up with the best blueprint for British withdrawal from the EU for the grand prize of €100,000, 149 people submitted entries, with 100 from Britain.

Other entries came from as far afield as the USA, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Russia and the Philippines.

The youngest applicant was aged 15.

Mark Littlewood, director-general of the IEA, said it was a crucial time for Britain.

"Much of the debate about our relationship with the European Union has focused on the pros and cons of membership," Mr Littlewood said.

"But what is urgently needed is a blueprint for how the UK should arrange its affairs if the British people decide to leave. The Brexit prize is a first, crucial step in providing this vital intellectual groundwork."

It's a complex question and the Punt awaits the winning submission with interest. Whatever the top suggestion may be, the move can only be bad for Ireland.

Irish Independent

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