What are the odds of the UK leaving the EU anytime soon? 20% say bookies.

BERLIN, GERMANY – APRIL 05: The former Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker speaks at the CDU federal congress on April 5, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. The CDU, which is the majority partner in a coalition government with the German Social Democrat, is meeting to agree on its policy course ahead of European Parliament elections scheduled for May. (Photo by Axel Schmidt/Getty Images)

Has Jean Claude Juncker’s nomination pushed the UK nearer to an EU exit?

Maybe a little, but even so, it’s still fairly unlikely to happen during this decade. What are the odds?

First, we’d almost certainly need a referendum. Ladbrokes make that an odds-against chance before 2018, and if it hasn’t happened by then, it almost certainly won’t before the subsequent general election.

So, based on those odds, I am going to assign a 40% probability to a referendum happening.

Then, the UK population have to decide to vote to leave.

Let’s go with a 50% chance of a decision to exit. I don’t think that is a particularly generous assessment, given that it’s quite likely that the leadership of all the main parties will be campaigning for remaining a member. Most major business interests are likely to be on the same side.

So, taking just those two conditions together, we’ve got a probability of 0.4 x 0.5 = 0.2 i.e. 20%. Which is perhaps a little less likely than you might imagine had you been reading certain commentators in today’s papers.

Leave a Comment