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Andreas Heinzmann and Valerio Scollo
For those of us who were born in the 1970s and the 1980s, a geographic Europe without a European Economic Area is inconceivable. Our generation has been studying the acquis communautaire together with the constitutional law of the Member State where they attended university. Those who were born in the 1990s, who are entering the legal profession now, have received their pocket money and their first pay cheque in euros. Yet, the Brexit referendum in 2016 has shaken our common beliefs. Is the European Union (EU) a project European citizens need? Is it possible to maintain political stability, peace and prosperity without it? Brexit seemed to represent, at the time, the potential follow-up to Grexit and the forerunner to Italexit. After three years of self-destructive actions by the British government, the firm and united reaction of the rest of Europe has shown the world that the EU is here to stay. Until Brexit, the UK and the English practitioners were at the forefront in interpreting and making the EU financial regulations familiar to market participants. They were the point of reference. Today we still read the EU policies and laws on financial services through the lenses of English law and practice. Yet Brexit has started a process that will likely change the status quo. Brexit pushed and will push more and more practitioners in a post-Brexit EU to challenge themselves, and to find new paradigms.