Friday morning the E.U. woke up to discover that Britain, partner of more than 40 years, had made good on their oft-repeated threats to leave. By Monday, having sweated their decision over the weekend the UK leadership emerged in general disarray, while the European leaders appeared invigorated and newly resolved to move quickly on.
“At first I was afraid.” Said Angela Merkel, speaking from a hastily convened emergency council on Saturday morning, in which tubs of ice cream and bottles of wine passed freely amongst Europe’s leaders. “I was petrified. I kept thinking we could never live without them by our side. But then we spent two minutes thinking how they did us wrong. And we grew strong. And we learned how to get along.”
Carefully licking a green drip of mint chocolate chip gelato off his tie, Matteo Renzi agreed with Merkel, stating that the UK’s reluctance to commit to a full relationship had long been a sore point on the mainland. “They always said it was a common-law marriage, that there was no need for a ceremony and sharing currencies, but it felt like they weren’t ready to commit all along. It will be nice to not have to feel less than a full partner with them. In many ways, since they’ve been gone, I feel like we can breathe for the first time. We’re so moving on. Si. Si.”
And after knocking back the remainder of half a bottle of Bordeaux on the hotel room balcony as the sun rose on Sunday morning, then casually opening a fresh pack of cigarettes with a practiced nonchalance, aloof in the early morning light, Francois Hollande added: “I think in many ways they just wasted our precious time. But ne pas think twice. C’est alright.”