I was saddened by the U.K. decision to leave the European Union, as I deeply believe in the benefits of unification. But Brexit can be an opportunity for Europe.
Competition for top spot in the world economy is fierce, and Western economies risk losing relevance. In this race, size increasingly matters. Without the U.K., the EU will still be the world's second-largest economic bloc, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $13.4 trillion. Breaking away from this union, and its 444 million often highly skilled citizens, represents a risk. By 2050, the European economy is projected to make up only 9 percent of the world economy. This puts the clout of any individual country – even that of relatively big players like the U.K. – into perspective.
The negotiations over Brexit will be an uncertain period for the U.K. For example, it is unclear whether Britain will still benefit from EU programs to stimulate investment after it leaves. The European Investment Fund committed 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion) to 144 U.K. venture funds for the period 2011-15, representing 37 percent of all venture funding raised in the U.K.
Europe can use this uncertainty as an opportunity and turn the situation to its advantage.