Your Guide to Brexit:

Undoubtedly Brexit has been a confusing period for Britain, and could be metaphorically identified as that awkward transition you and your partner have once you’ve broken up – you still need to collect your things from theirs, but you need to begin that slow transition to self-recovery. Whilst Britain is on its ‘slow transition to self-recovery’, questions like how and why Britain left the European Union (Brexit) are still being asked.

Here at iCov, we understand that politics isn’t the most easiest conversation to have, so we’ve made a quick guide with a few points to help you out:

What is the European Union?

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political partnership involving twenty-eight European countries. The union started after World War II to aid economic co-operation, with the belief that countries that trade together are more likely to avoid going to war with each other.

It has since grown to become a “single market” allowing goods and people to liaise, as if the member states were one country. It has its own currency, the euro (€), which is used by 19 of the member countries, its own parliament and more.

Britain’s Referendum:

On June 23rd Britain had a referendum on whether it should stay or leave the European Union (EU) and after a tight vote the country voted to leave, leave won by 51.9% to 48.1%. Since then, David Cameron the prime minister resigned and after some political flip-flopping the Conservatives (aka Tories) elected Theresa May to be their next prime minister. Meanwhile, the opposition party descended into chaos and the British Pound fell to a 30 year low against the USD ($). Despite this, a referendum’s a referendum and Brexit will happen.

So what caused Brexit?

George Friedman, an expert in intelligence and international geopolitics, says there are three main factors that led to Brexit – Economics, Sovereignty and Political Elitism. Here’s a break down of why:

 Economics

Opponents of the EU argued that it is a dysfunctional economic entity; with the EU failing to address the economic problems that has developed since 2008 (e.g. 20% unemployment in southern Europe) there’s been a growing mistrust of its effectiveness. Staying in a stagnated organisation to solve British problems seemed shortsighted and made little sense to opponents – they believed that remaining in the European Union would make Britain follow Europe’s hopeless lead.

 Sovereignty

The second reason for Brexit is the rise of nationalism across the world. After World War II, there’s been a growing distrust of multinational financial, trade, and defense organisations. Those who opposed the EU believed these institutions no longer served a purpose; they were also not pleased that they took control away from individual nations. Mistrust and fear of losing control made Brexit a reasonable solution to them.

In addition, the immigration crisis in Europe was a trigger. Some EU leaders argued that aiding the refugees was a moral obligation. But EU opponents saw immigration as a national issue, as it affected the internal life of the country. Steering clear of this issue was an important driver for the “leave” vote – nonetheless, it’s ironic that colonizers are adamant that Britain stays British.

Political Elitism

Finally, the political leadership of Britain faced a profound loss. The “leave” voters rejected both the Conservative and Labour parties. Both parties had endorsed remaining with the EU and saw many of their members go into opposition on the issue.

So what happens now?

The UK has voted to leave the European Union. It is scheduled to depart at 11pm on Friday 29 March 2019. The UK and EU have provisionally agreed on the three “divorce” issues of how much the UK owes the EU, what happens to the Northern Ireland border and what happens to UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK.

With discussions on future relations taking place, both the UK and the EU are keen on the idea of there being a period of time after the 29 March, 2019, to get everything in place and allow businesses and others to prepare for the moment when the new post-Brexit rules between the UK and the EU begin. It also allows more time for the details of the new relationship to be fully fleshed out.

 

 

 

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