Nowadays the most debated and critical topic in the newspapers is Brexit. Brexit is concerning everyone because the consequences will affect all countries and not only the UK. Since we are cosmopolitans we have the duty to know what Brexit really is and what the consequences will be.
WHAT DOES BREXIT MEAN?
It is a word that is used as an easy way of saying the UK leaving the EU. It comes from merging the words “Britain” and “exit” to get Brexit.
WHEN DID BREXIT BEGIN?
A referendum was held on Thursday 23 June 2016 to decide whether the UK was to leave or remain in the European Union. Leave won by 51.9% to 48.1%. Eventually the referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting. What was really peculiar was the breakdown across UK: England, excluding London, and Wales voted for Brexit instead London, Scotland and Northern Ireland backed staying in the EU.
WHEN IS BRITAIN LEAVING THE EUROPEAN UNION?
In order to allow Brexit Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty has been invoked, which gives the two sides two years to agree the terms of the split.
Theresa May triggered this process on 29 March 2017, meaning the UK is scheduled to leave at 11pm UK time on Friday 29 March 2019. The European court has ruled that the UK can ask to postpone this deadline, if all 28 EU members agree, but at the moment both sides are focused on that date as being the key one, and Theresa May has put it into British law.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE UK ECONOMY AFTER THE BREXIT VOTE?
David Cameron and many other senior politicians who supported staying in the EU, had predicted an immediate economic crisis if the UK voted to leave. On one hand, it was true that the pound slumped the day after the referendum and is currently about 10% down against the dollar and 10%-15% down against the euro. On the other hand, predictions of immediate doom were wrong: in 2016 and 2017 the UK economy showed a robust 1,8% growth rate; only in the first half of 2018 the economy has shown signs of slowing down.
After June 2016 inflation has risen but it has remained below 2.2%. Unemployment has continued to go down. Annual house price has steadily fallen from 8.2% in June 2016 to 3.2% in the year to August 2018. This is the lowest annual increase in prices for five years, but it is still higher than inflation so property continues to show “real terms” increases in prices.
WHAT IS THE STATUS-QUO ON THE BREXIT DEAL?
After months of strong negotiation, the UK and EU agreed on a Brexit deal, that has to be approved by the English Parliament in order to become effective.
It comes in two parts:
This is a legally-binding text that sets the terms of the UK’s divorce from the EU. It covers how much money the UK owes the EU – an estimated £39bn – and what happens to UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK. It also proposes a method to avoid the return of a physical Northern Ireland border.
This is not legally-binding and sketches out the kind of long-term relationship the UK and EU want to have in a range of areas, including trade, defence and security.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS NO DEAL WITH THE EU?
In case the English Parliament does not vote for the deal Theresa May has agreed on with the EU, the no-deal Brexit could be a realistic scenario.
Without an agreement, the UK would operate with the EU under the World Trade Organization rules, which could mean customs checks and tariffs on goods as well as longer border checks for travelers.
Moreover, there are also two unanswered questions: what would happen to Britain’s position as a global financial center and what would happen to the land border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Furthermore, there is also a huge concern regarding rights and health-cure of British people living in EU and vice-versa.
In conclusion after having explained, briefly, the main points about Brexit which allow us to better understand the topic, as a European citizen and a student who has decided to study in UK I would have preferred “remain” to win and now I strongly hope that a good and fair deal for both parties can be achieved and improved in the future. When I was born, the UK was a key country in the EU; therefore, now it is really strange and difficult for me to imagine an EU without the UK.