The UK will most likely vote to remain in the EU, much to the EU’s relief. The fear of being an outsider in Europe will likely be stronger than the fear of surrendering sovereignty and law-making powers to Brussels. This referendum will not be the catalyst for change that the flawed EU concept desperately needs. Instead of using the referendum as a weapon, Cameron has not had the courage to confront the ideologues and has missed his opportunity to be the Great Reformer. He has used the referendum weapon more for domestic purposes than for pressuring the EU.
But the cracks in the flawed Franco-German vision of the Holy European Empire will remain. In fact, the cracks will only get wider. While the centre (Brussels) tries to expand by bringing in new countries, the countries at the eastern border will take their own line. The strains on the Euro will grow greater as Brussels expansionism brings in countries with weaker economies. The Euro zone, far from being a homogeneous region of uniform economic strength, will be in constant crises and bailouts. The conflict between the free movement of wealth creators (labour) and the free movement of wealth consumers (welfare tourists) will remain as long as the huge variation in economic conditions across Europe remain.
There will be a tug-of war between the expansionists and the likes of Poland and Hungary and Austria when it comes to accepting Muslim countries (Bosnia and Turkey primarily). Kosovo is also such a country but is not yet fully recognised as a country.
Cameron has missed his chance to roll back some of the excesses in Europe. The European Parliament has become the most useless and least democratic parliament in the world. And the European Commission, rather than being a disseminator of best practices, has become a body where the lowest common standard applies.
Of course, the UK needs to stay in the EU – for both the good of the UK and of the EU. But the EU needs to be drastically thinned down and vigorously cleaned up. Common sense has to return and replace the orthodoxy of the Holy European Empire.