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The ‘Brexit’ in the United Kingdom: meaning, results and consequences

The term Brexit It is the result of bringing the English voices together Britain and exit in a single word, which refers to the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU). After the referendum held on June 23, 2016, the results obtained indicated that the UK would leave the EU. Those who are in favor of continuing to be a member state speak of the negative consequences on the British economy that this would entail.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

What is ‘Brexit’ and when did it take place?

June 23, 2016 is the date on which a referendum took place whereby British citizens would decide if the United Kingdom would remain in the European Union or else they would definitely leave.

It is what is known as Brexit, term formed from the union between English voices British and exit, which literally means British exit.

The result of this referendum was 51.9% of the votes in favor of leaving the European Union, compared to 48.1% of votes in favor of permanence.

This means that the Brexit won the referendum and that, therefore, the United Kingdom will cease to be an EU member state. According to the words of former British Prime Minister David Cameron, it is one of the biggest decisions the country has faced in its entire history.

Causes and history

The United Kingdom became part of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973 and nineteen years later, in 1992, it became one of the twelve member countries of the European Union (EU) after the signing of the Maastricht Treaty.

However, its permanence in the EU has always been subject to numerous exceptions that have slowed the integration process since then. Thus, in the mid-1950s, the six founding countries of the EU (France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) invited the British Government to be part of the negotiations prior to the creation of the EEC.

However, this proposal was rejected from London by considering the United Kingdom as a independent world power with more commercial opportunities outside.

It was not until 1961 when the United Kingdom gave its arm to twist in the negotiations to join the EU. The prime minister at that time, Harold Macmillan, of the conservative party, was the one who filed an official adhesion request in the same year. Accession did not take place until 1973, at the same time that Denmark and Ireland also became Member States.

However, the permanence of the United Kingdom to the EU has always been subject to a series of special conditions since the laborer leader, Harold Wilson, held the first referendum on the exit of the EEC in 1975, with 67.2% in favor to stay

With the departure of Margaret Tatcher in 1990, the characteristic British Euroscepticism remained. After the arrival of John Major as Tatcher's successor, the United Kingdom got the biggest exception that it has enjoyed since then: keep the pound sterling as an official currency and, therefore, not become part of the euro zone.

Shortly after Tony Blair arrived at the government, who left the United Kingdom out of the Schengen Agreement and, therefore, of the Schengen Area, thus limiting the free movement of European citizens among the countries that make up this area.

Previous negotiations

David Cameron, who announced the next day that he would not continue as prime minister after the result in favor of the EU exit, was not in any moment in favor of this decision.

Now, before putting a date on the referendum, the Prime Minister negotiated with the European Union a series of conditions of permanence if the result of the same was favorable to it:

  • Social benefits: citizens of other EU countries may not apply for social benefits in the United Kingdom until after 4 years of their arrival in the country.
  • Multiple community currencies: on the one hand, other currencies such as community currencies, not just the euro, should be recognized within the EU. In addition, non-euro countries will not be required to participate in bailouts.
  • Limitations to free movement: The United Kingdom may restrict the entry of citizens from outside the EU married to European citizens. It is a measure to curb "arranged" marriages. The right will also be reserved to exclude those who consider a security risk even if they have no criminal record.
  • EU bureaucratic structure: it is about providing greater facilities in the free movement of capital, goods and services, as well as improving the bureaucratic structure of the EU.
  • Sovereignty: is to expressly avoid the obligation of all EU members to advance the European and political integration of the European project. In short, that national parliaments have more weight than Brussels.

Results after the referendum

Although the overall result indicates that the United Kingdom will withdraw from the European Union shortly, the truth is that the distribution of votes throughout the different nations that make up the United Kingdom is uneven.

The question to which the British were to answer was brief: Should the United Kingdom continue to be a member of the European Union or should it leave the European Union? In response to it and at a general level, the data obtained after the vote are summarized in the following table:

1. Leave the EU17,410,74251.9
2. Continue in the EU16,141,24148.1

It should be noted that the results vary greatly by nation. Thus, in Scotland, 62.0% voted in favor of permanence in the EU, while 38% were in favor of abandoning it and 23.0% abstained.

As for Wales, 52.5% opted for the "no", while in England (including Gibraltar), the results were fairly matched: 46.6% in favor of permanence and 53.4% ​​were favorable to leave the EU The Gibraltarians, however, were clear: 95.9% voted to continue as a member state.

We can conclude that the Scots show a clear European trend as opposed to the English, more favorable to continue as an independent power. However, the Scottish population represents only 8% versus 84% ​​of the English, so their decision could only make a difference in case the vote was very even.

Possible consequences

Among the consequences derived from Brexit those that affect the economy not only from the United Kingdom, but from other Member States. At the national level, the exit from the EU would imply a contraction of British GDP between 3.6 and 6%. At European level, this reduction is expected to be between 0.2 and 0.5%.

In addition, the great attraction of the United Kingdom as one of the main EU financial centers It could be diminished, since it would lose its access to the European Economic Area (internal market of the EU). He Brexit It also means the collapse of the pound sterling. Only on the first night after the referendum, it fell 18% against the dollar.

Many multinational companies based in the country could consider moving their headquarters to other countries. Specifically, the Japanese ambassador has already warned that it will be a "hard" Brexit for Japanese people established in the United Kingdom, since they would lose access to the EU single market.

In the social field, it should be noted that the contrasts between social groups have been accentuated within the country. The xenophobia, racism and hate attacks on certain sectors of the population have increased since June 2016, especially against the Polish, Indian and Muslim community.

The UK's exit from the European Union also entails a number of disadvantages for other countries not only on the European continent, but worldwide. In Spain, the biggest impact is the sale of houses and the tourism sector, since the fall of the pound would mean a decrease in the purchasing power of British citizens.

In the world of sports, especially that of soccer, the abandonment of the United Kingdom would have consequences on the Premier League and the rest of competitions of British origin. This is because Great Britain demands a series of requirements from non-EU players in order to participate in the championships.

He Brexit It also affects countries in America. Mexico is one of the main affected in terms of foreign trade. Also the price of the shares of the Mexican Stock Exchange It will be increased by its base in supply and demand, since Mexico is a country very dependent on foreign investment.

Surveys and opinions

The British want to leave Europe because they see a series of advantages in their favor. One of them is that they believe that the EU slows the economic growth of the United Kingdom, mainly because of the billing of billions per year in membership fees.

On the other hand, they also want the country to recover the absolute control of its borders and, with it, reduce the number of immigrants who come to work. For their part, those who advocate to remain in the EU allude to the strength that the United Kingdom's affiliation with the EU means for the country.

They also mention the fact that trade with other countries in the bloc, as well as immigrants traveling to the United Kingdom willing to work, benefit the british economy. They believe that not belonging to the EU will adversely affect their international status.

Those who are opposed argue that it would mean a defeat for the European project, since this entails the rise of the so-called europhobes and nationalisms in other European countries. They believe it will be a blow to the EU, which will be lost and without a clear future plan.

There are several who think that the Brexit, the victory of Donald Trump In the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and the populism that is taking hold in Europe are symptoms of:

  • The rise of xenophobia in the western world
  • The economic decline of the middle class
  • Discontent with representative democracy
  • The welfare state crisis

A widely questioned data is the inequality existing among those who voted in the referendum. Although it was a democratic process, the majority of citizens who favored the abandonment of the EU have an average age of around 50 years.

On the other hand, the highest percentage of votes against corresponds to the young vote, regardless of the nation. This implies that young people will be the ones who live longer with the decision that the elders have taken.

User Questions

Is Brexit binding or could it be reversed?

The truth is that no and, today, Article 50 of the European Treaty by which the United Kingdom would begin the process of separation with Brussels has not yet been activated. For this, the formal notification of the British Executive is necessary. In fact, a citizen petition circulates for the UK to hold another referendum in which more than 3.3 million signatures have already been obtained.

What role will Germany take if Brexit is there?

Experts argue that leaving the United Kingdom would only strengthen Germany's role as a European leader. In addition, it should be borne in mind that Germany loses a very important ally not only internally, but in foreign policy areas.

What benefits would Brexit mean for Spain?

One of the main advantages that could have the exit of the United Kingdom of the EU is the union of Gibraltar to Spain again. The Gibraltarians want to continue having access to the single market and the rights of free movement, as reflected in the results of the vote, in which more than 95% voted in favor of permanence.

Will a visa be necessary to travel to the UK after Brexit?

At the moment, the requirements and documentation necessary to enter the United Kingdom continue as before. They have two years to reach new bilateral agreements with countries outside the EU.

As to what could be established if the Brexit finally comes into force, it is quite unlikely that Europeans will have to apply for a visa to enter the UK. Now, they would have to individually regulate visa freedom or not with each country.

If you want to check the current requirements, we recommend you take a look at the following article: Tips, documentation and requirements for traveling to the United Kingdom.

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