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There are only a few months left until the United Kingdom formally exits the European Union.A "hard Brexit" would mean that at 11 p.m. GMT on March 29, 2019, the U.K.'s membership in all EU treaties such as the customs union and single market and international trade agreements concluded by the EU would end. But Brexit will of course have far-reaching political consequences, too. It is why the U.K.'s decision to leave the EU with or without an exit agreement will have a profound impact on the 21st-century European order.The slim majority of Britons who voted for "Leave" in the 2016 referendum weren't concerned with economic wealth, but with reclaiming full political sovereignty. They define sovereignty not in terms of objective facts about Britain's present or future, but in terms of Britain's past as a global power during the 19th century.Never mind that the U.K. is now a medium-size European power with little to no chance of ever becoming a global player again be it inside or outside the EU.The old, declining European order of the 19th century originally emerged out of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648).Brexit has thrown the material implications of this level of integration into sharp relief.With or without the U.K., Europe must see to its future.
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