Economist Calero: UK Made Mistake with Brexit
SAN JUAN – After the surprising, historic decision by the United Kingdom to secede from the European Union in the referendum held June 23, Puerto Rican economist Heidie Calero, president of H. Calero Consulting, said the so-called Brexit has unleashed “uncertainty and turmoil” in the financial markets.
“I personally think the UK made a mistake, because belonging to a market as large as the European Union’s was definitely a step in the right direction,” Calero told Caribbean Business.
As a result of Brexit, Calero said the UK will now have to make individual treaties with European countries for customs, tariff barriers, British retirees living in European countries, as well as British employees working in organizations and divisions of the European Community in Brussels, Germany, etc., who will have to return to the UK.
“It is possible that an economic recession and inflation breaks out in the short term. It is possible it spreads to the rest of Europe and infects the United States. It remains to be seen,” she said.
Even though the United Kingdom had not embraced the euro, Calero said the strength of a common market comes from the free movement of goods and people with a common currency.
“Certainly, immigration by Syrians and other groups made them nervous, but they could have established criteria for accepting those immigrants without violating the principles of the common market,” the economist said. “I think it’s a setback and would not be surprised if Scotland and Northern Ireland again request to be independent from the United Kingdom to continue to belong to the common market.
In her view, this type of situation was solved in the United States long ago, during the Civil War.
“There is no possible divorce, and that is a lesson the countries of the European Common Market should learn. Once you have entered, it’s for better or worse. I can’t only be for better times, excluding the ‘for worse,'” Calero said. “I believe this should also be a lesson for Puerto Rico in terms of the population’s participation in those processes that affect us all.”
If the silent majority does not participate, then one is at the mercy of the most militant groups, and the decisions will be made by them, she stressed.