We have full-time Europeans when it comes to taking and part-time Europeans when it comes to giving … too many part time Europeans. That is a problem
Everybody will say: ‘We’re sorry, this is a historical disaster but now we have to move on.’ And then they will say ‘OK, David [Cameron], goodbye, because now we have to meet as 27 leaders,’” said one senior diplomat intimately involved in the planning. “That will be rather a decisive moment: will the 27 find the energy, the convergence of views to define a common agenda or whether it will be only the 19?”
French officials are wary of Brexit contagion spreading to other member states and the lift it would provide to anti-EU insurgents like the National Front’s Marine Le Pen. They are determined to send a tough and punitive message to show divorce will be costly for Britain. “Playing down or minimising the consequences would put Europe at risk,” said one senior French official. “The principle of consequences is very important — to protect Europe.