The same would apply to an independent Scotland or Catalonia, or to countries reticent about European integration, such as Switzerland and Norway.

The U.K. government is currently focused on exiting the club, and few European leaders are in a hurry to draw the British closer once they are out.

But in the long term, when Britain has experienced the chill winds of solitude, and when the EU recognizes that keeping the Brits at arm’s length is not good for anybody, both may come to see the value in creating more flexible “membership” solutions.

Excerpts from an article by C. Grant, POLITICO, November 2017.