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Why Brexit Would Benefit Europe

People waving British flags wait for Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, to appear at the balcony of  Buckingham Palace after their wedding in  London, April 2011. Darren Staples / REUTERS

If Europe were a democracy, all of its citizens would have had a say in whether the United Kingdom leaves or remains in the European Union. After all, it is not the just the fate of the British that Brexit would affect, but also the quality and longevity of the entire European project. The EU, as it turns 65, is showing grave sclerosis, and voices—nationalist, populist, and sometimes xenophobic—are calling for its dissolution. The moment has thus come, if it has not already passed, to prune the dead wood of the tree to save the trunk.

The European Union’s original mission was more political than economic, as were its greatest successes. The union was designed to put an end to perpetual conflict between France and Germany. It succeeded, ending a millennium of intra-European wars in the process. The union also brilliantly helped Eastern European countries quickly transition from

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