I would actually vote "Stay" in a Czechout referendum if it took place now
The EU summit was primarily dedicated to the immigration to Europe – which was a significant trend that was somewhat bizarrely classified under the "asylum policies" of Europe (although those should only deal with a small number of individuals).
And I think that the most important outcome is that Angela Merkel and her comrades have surrendered and abandoned the plans to force migrants on individual European countries, using the mechanism of the permanent quotas, and to force the migrants to go to arbitrarily or randomly chosen European countries.
This is significant because the large European countries were considered to be the "owners of the EU". Germany and France were frantically supporting the insane concept of the permanent quotas. They had the backing of Spain, Benelux, and several other countries (Italy has belonged to that group just a month ago). This coalition looked impossible to beat. But it was beaten.
Some countries such as Poland and Hungary have always believed that their viewpoint may influence the direction that Europe takes. That's why most Poles and Hungarians actually want to stay in the European Union, despite the self-evident harassment of these nations by Brussels. They have believed that Europe may sometimes evolve according to their wisdom. And they were proven right. Maybe the European Union isn't such a hopelessly totalitarian construct where all the answers are predetermined in some actual centers of power.
We, the nations in the post-communist Europe, suck at P.R. None of us can sell our successes, our triumphs. That's why I must emphasize that we're amazing, tremendous, incredible, unbelievable, and really good because we could have beaten the toxic, deplorable, crooked Angela and her accomplices and puppets. ;-)
According to some agreed upon principles, the EU's focus should be on the defense of the external borders of the European Union, as we were saying from the beginning (but no one told us "you were right all along"). There may be some special camps those goal is to speed up the return of the illegal immigrants to their countries. Sensitive moves like that will hopefully depend on consensus of all the European countries that participate. Maybe some countries that need to deal with an increased number of challenges posed by the migration wave may get some extra money – but this money will hopefully not be interpreted as some fines paid by the evil, politically incorrect, xenophobic EU member countries.
But I want to get to a related point. In the recent year or so, I have interacted – in the real life and on the Internet – with a very large number of people who really want Czechia to leave the European Union as soon as possible. This viewpoint is shared by many true conservatives in the U.K. But in Czechia, it's widespread. Lots of people who are interested in politics want to leave the European Union as soon as possible.
They include ex-president Klaus, his son (the main clear anti-EU politician in the ODS founded by his father), the nationalist SPD party, its voters and sympathizers, the communist party and its sympathizers, and various other people, journalists, pundits on Twitter, and so on. Well, I surely understand where they're coming from and I agree with them when it comes to a huge fraction of questions linked to the political correctness, the democratic deficit of the European Union, and tons of other things. The European Union is already a mess and the direction in which it seems to be evolving is even messier. The direction seems to be towards a new reincarnation of a Soviet-style totalitarian regime.
There are red lines that would turn me into a clear supporter of the Czechout – our exit from the European Union. But I just feel that none of these red lines is really being crossed now. The Czechout would have far-reaching consequences for the economy and at the end, I think that the European Union would have a lot of control over my country even if we were formally out. Even as non-members of the European Union, we wouldn't live in the vacuum. And I think that we don't even want to live in the vacuum because it's harder to breathe in the vacuum.
It seems clear to me that lots of politicians and countries, starting with Germany, would love to "punish us" – even more severely than they want to punish the Britons who dared to say "Leave". Britons are de facto Aryan – but we would be the ultimate homophobes and true Untermenschen, however. ;-) The Czech economy is heavily dependent on exports. Most of those go to the EU (although this was obviously not the case before the mid 1990s or so); one-third of the exports (and one-third of the imports) goes to (come from) Germany.
It seems rather likely to me that some new barriers for trade would reduce the Czech GDP by at least 20 percent and the drop could last for many years (well, I think we would be able to reorient our economy after some time, much like how we did it in the early 1990s when we had to give up the Soviet market). The Czech currency would probably weaken by more than the British pound did – maybe by 30 percent. I wouldn't like it – in fact, I wouldn't even like the drop of the exchange rate that the Britons have experienced. (Nigel Farage may have shorted the pound before the results of the referendum were announced. He was caught smiling happily while seeing the collapsing pound. Would I be lucky and fast to make the right bet, too?)
On top of that, we also have our own domestic politicians that are willing to do some pathological things that the European Union loves to do these days. I think that we don't have as many of these people as the U.K. but we have them. (Britain won't really reduce the political correctness after it leaves the EU because the amount of "made in Britain" PC is about the same as in the average Western European continental country. So Brexit is no magic cure for the PC.) And we have some specific threats such as those posed by Mr Andrej Babiš, our billionaire prime minister. And I can imagine that under certain circumstances, I would be grateful for some European protection against these threats.
If some red lines are crossed in the future, I could switch to the "Leave" camp right away. If the European Union will really want to abolish the freedom of speech in the whole confederacy or if it will plan to do something of this caliber, I will prefer to leave the union quickly – the economic consequences could be secondary. But I don't quite see such things happening now. We're pretty much living independently of the shocking proclamations and policies that are being heard from the Western European countries that had avoided communism so far.
The mainstream British politicians were obviously not ready for the Brexit "Leave" result. They don't really know how to deal with the situation properly. They don't have the balls, they don't have the vision, they don't have the motivation to do it right and cut the links in a clean way. It's mostly the politicians who should be blamed – they suck. On the other hand, you can blame the people a bit more symmetrically. The voters knew that they would still have a certain political elite and the voters could have known that this elite would have trouble to do the Brexit effectively, quickly, fully, and right. But they have voted the way they voted which led to lots of disappointment – in this sense, the disappointment is the voters' fault, too.
I also feel that the "mainstream" Czech politicians would probably be unready to deal with the "Leave" result. On top of that, I think that the politicians and pundits who really want the "Leave" results don't have the sufficient skills, experience, and knowledge to deal with lots of ordinary political issues. I think that lots of them are extremely naive. They think that leaving the European Union is some miraculous "cure for all diseases". They think that they just need to sign some documents saying "we're no longer in the European Union" and Czechia will be immediately turned into a paradise.
OK, I don't believe anything of this kind. I think that lots of these people are fanatical, lots of these people are naive and unfamiliar with all the "boring" things that a functional government has to deal with (and the number of challenges would obviously be higher if we needed to deal with the departure from the EU). And many of these pro-Czechout folks really belong to Central Asia or something and I just don't want them to lead my country – they could ultimately be a worse choice than some "average" Western European politicians. I am terrified by many of these people anti-democratic whining, claims that the whole democratic political system is by definition corrupt, and all this staggering garbage. And I also don't want things like the general referendum for lots of questions, as the nationalist SPD party wants (mainly because I find it likely that the median Czech voters could okay really, really stupid and pathological things), and numerous other things that are usually presented as parts of the Czechout package.
In 2004, I probably didn't participate in the referendum on the EU entry because I was at Harvard and of course, I wouldn't even travel to D.C. or NYC (let alone Europe) to vote. As far as I remember, I would have wanted to vote "Join" at that time – although my enthusiasm for the European Union was already dramatically reduced 14 years ago. But now, if I had to vote about the exit, I would probably choose "Stay". That view is probably affected by my today's feeling that countries such as ours may sometimes be heard in the EU – even when it comes to rather important questions.
But I simply think that we should give the EU some extra chance – and we should try to spend some extra energy to push the European Union in the right direction. After all, even if we were outside the European Union, a cataclysmic evolution of France or Germany into the Islamic world would still be a problem. We are also Europeans and it's painful for Europeans like us to lose Germany or France. And it could be a big problem to have a large pro-Islamic neighbor and stuff like that. In this sense, we may need to defend not just Czechia but also Germany and France. And maybe, Wir schaffen das. The cancellation of the permanent quota plan conveys an optimistic message about our political muscles.