What You Need to Know About Brexit

Dial pointer in between British and European flags with Brexit question Photo by unikpix - yayimages.com

Based on a popular vote in a referendum held on June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom made the decision to leave the European Union. The term used to describe this referendum is ‘Brexit,’ which is essentially a shorthand way of saying that the United Kingdom is exiting the European Union – similar to how Greece leaving the European Union was dubbed as Grexit.

The decision by the UK to leave the EU has become a very unpredictable and complex behemoth. It has raised some serious questions about the responsibilities that a social and political movement has against the weight of an economic and trade partnership. There are countless debates taking place about the future of the EU and what will come next for the UK.

How Did The Decision Take Place?

Former United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron announced a referendum on the EU membership after winning the country’s general elections. After winning the vote on Scottish independence, the referendum on retaining EU membership was an easy one to achieve.

The referendum was a part of David Cameron’s manifesto. It also rose in prominence due to Ukip and Nigel Farage, after they started gaining traction in anti-immigration and anti-EU platforms in their local elections.

Another prominent force to take a stance against the EU membership was Boris Johnson. When the referendum was held on the 23rd of June, it seemed like it would be an easy victory for those in favor to remain within the EU but that was not to be the case. The final result of the referendum saw 51.9 percent of people have voted to leave the EU. The majority populations in Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay within the EU, while England and Wales made the decision to leave; subsequently, the result of the referendum led to David Cameron’s resignation from his position.

Why Did the Referendum Take Place?

The European Union is a political and economic partnership of a collective of European countries. There are 28 states within the EU, including the United Kingdom. The EU started as a trade group of six countries and has now grown to include former Soviet bloc states. At the heart of it all is a single market that allows the movement of goods and people across the border with ease.

The EU has its own parliament, central bank and currency called the Euro used by 19 different countries. Member nations have always been pushing for a closer union in both a political and economic regard. Those in favor of leaving the EU in Britain wanted to leave because of excessive red tape that has been holding the UK back. The campaign also included the debate of regaining more control over its own borders and the aspect of maintaining sovereignty.

The most popular debate for taking back control of its own affairs was the £350 million weekly which will be made in savings after exiting the EU, which can then be sent to the NHS to direct towards the needs of the country. Nigel Farage, obviously backtracked from that statement later on and said that it was a mistake to make such a claim.

‘Take Back Our Borders’ was essentially a slogan against the immigration of refugees from foreign countries. A large number of people in the UK feared that with the growing immigrant crisis in Europe, their borders could be compromised by the inflow of immigrants. It has also been said that the UK has always been a reluctant member of the EU.

What the Brexit Entails

Britain leaving the EU is not something as simple as a gentleman turning in his membership of a club. It is a very complex process. For one, the UK has been a part of the EU for so long that a lot of the laws in the UK are the ones used in the EU. This means that they will have to rework their laws to create UK versions of the laws. A lot of work has already been done to that end.

Another reason why severing ties with the EU is so complex is the fact that being an EU state creates close ties to other countries in terms of business and trade deals. The UK still has not explained explicitly what kind of trade deals it wants instead of the ones that it already had as a member of the EU.

The United Kingdom has also indicated that it wants to remain a part of the single market that already exists within the EU but it wants to restrict the immigration laws and limit the regulation on goods. The EU has said that it will not be willing to split up the four freedoms that the EU offers (free movement of goods, people, services and capital) on account of one country making the decision to leave the EU.

The Backstop Issue

One of the most important aspects of Brexit for Ireland is the backstop. This is an agreement that the EU has with the UK regarding the border issue with Ireland. If they are not able to resolve the border issue with Ireland but all other aspects of the Brexit are resolved, the backstop will come into effect.

The backstop will make sure that Northern Ireland would remain part of the single market and the customs union if there’s no other solution that can avoid the formation of a hard border.

The Transition Period

The transition period or the implementation phase is the time that the UK has to keep some of the arrangements with Brussels on trade and resolve other matters until a new trade agreement can be set into place, which will comprehensively cater to their matters beyond the Brexit.

As soon as the Brexit happens, it will also become free to set a foreign policy of its own as well as negotiate and sign new trade deals with any country in the world. Britain will not be completely out of the EU until December 21st, 2020 – four and a half years after the referendum was signed.

Where are Things with Brexit Right Now?

Euro sand with British flag transitioning into British flag Photo by unikpix - yayimages.com

Based on the current situation, Prime Minister of UK, Theresa May, has said that the draft agreement on post-Brexit relations are good for the UK and insisted that a deal is within the grasp. The political declaration outlines the way in which trade, security, and other issues will work between the UK and the EU. It has been signed in principle.

What Happens Now?

Theresa May will hold more talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels. The leaders of the EU will sign off on the political declaration, the withdrawal agreement and the negotiators will talk to Spain about an agreement on the matter of Gibraltar.

Posted On March 9, 2019