Voters in the United Kingdom have decided to leave the European Union (EU). Britain has been a member of the European Union since 1973. However, Britain’s confidence in the EU has been dwindling due to a series of crises.
There was an enormous rate of unemployment in Greece and Spain because of how the European Central Bank’s catastrophic management of the post-2008 recession. The open borders policy in Europe was challenged by the Syrian refugee crisis.
Breixt, also known as Britain’s exit has caused a major setback to the EU political and economic integration, it will also have huge implications for the British economy. The EU functions have a single integrated economy like the United States and now that Britain has left, regulations could make it more difficult to move goods across the English Channel. The uncertain relationship between Britain and the EU could result UK to fall into a recession. On the 24th of June, one day after the vote to leave, the British pound lost 9 per cent of its value and its stock index FTSE 100 lost 3 per cent. By 2030, it is estimated that the British economy will be between 3.8 and 7.5 per cent smaller as it is today. However, this fact depends on how the negotiations between EU and Britain will go. Many multinational corporations have their headquarters in London but they may now choose to have their European headquarters in the European Union which could lead to job losses in Britain.
The EU also allows for the free movement of people within its member state this means that any EU citizen can live and work in any other EU country without the need of having a visa. Many citizens from poorer EU countries such as Poland and Lithuania have migrated to the UK because of its high employment rate. Due to so many people migrating from other countries in the EU, Britain has resented these migrants and this resentment became the key driving force in the decision for Britain to leave the European Union.
Now that Britain is no longer part of the EU, one of the biggest questions is what’s going to happen to all those EU migrants?
Brexit could also cause a breakup of the United Kingdom. As it is made of four countries (England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland), there is a possibility of these places not staying united with each other. Scotland in 2014 took a vote to make it an independent country but came up short. Brexit could strengthen the hand of Scottish separatists. There is already talking of holding a second referendum on Scottish independence. If they prevail on this vote, then Scotland might try to join the EU in its own right.
Ireland has been divided between a protestant north that’s part of the UK and an independent Irish republic in the South.
The EU rules have managed to minimize the tension ensuring the right to move across the border. Brexit could cause the border to become more important and tensions over territory could rise up again. However, there is a possibility that Brexit could provide renewed momentum for Northern Ireland to try to leave the UK and unify with the rest of Ireland.
What comes next?
Many long negotiations between the UK and the EU’s member states will ensue where they will discuss their future relationship in regards to trade, tariffs, agriculture and immigration and many other issues. The resignation of the British Prime Minister David Cameron (who didn’t want to hold a vote on Brexit) may affect certain favourable negotiating deals. The EU might be less willing to bargain with Britain as to discourage other countries from leaving the EU or UK’s new Prime Minister might not be willing to accept certain kind of restrictions.
It is still early to predict what the other EU member states will do. They could either rally together by trying to encourage more integration or Britain leaving could cause some countries to also leave the EU. One thing is certain; Britain’s exit has caused a huge upset to the vision of a united Europe.