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Globalization paper: Brexit

Updated on November 10, 2016

On June 23rd, 2016 a referendum was held in the United Kingdom (UK); this vote was to determine whether or not the UK should remain a member of the European Union (EU). The EU is “an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries” (BBC News) that began after World War II to bring these countries together. It has created its own currency, the Euro, and allows free trade and movement of people within these countries (BBC News). The purpose behind this unity was to avoid another major war (BBC News), considering two world wars had just occurred in a 30 year span. The UK is made up of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. England and Wales both voted for Brexit while Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU. The vote came to 52% to 48%, with the majority voting to leave.

Since the vote, a major change has occurred: Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain resigned with Theresa May taking his place (Ricketts). Just like Cameron, May is against Brexit, but has stated she will continue on with it for the people. She has confirmed she will initiate Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in March of 2017, which is an agreement that will give the UK and EU two years to agree on the terms of Brexit (BBC News). When Article 50 is initiated, the wants of the UK on certain issues will emerge; for example, the immigration policy. A majority of UK citizens believed the EU’s immigration policy was the cause of unemployment, the housing crisis, and an educational disadvantage in the nation (Ricketts) which is what led them to vote for Brexit. So agreements on this policy, among others, will be very crucial for the UK and its citizens.

Of course, the situation is more complex than simply initiating Article 50. A draft of the negotiations must be put together and proposed to the other 27 countries in the EU (BBC News). Then the draft will need approval from at least 20 countries with 65% of the population and will then be ratified by the European Parliament (BBC News). Unless all 27 countries agree to extend the negotiations, then the UK will be able to leave the EU at the end of the two years and if it decides it wishes to rejoin the EU, it will have to apply just like any other county (BBC News). Considering this is a very long process that requires approval from many different countries, it will take at least two years for Brexit to actually happen and a lot can happen in the world in two years.

While May will be taking care of Brexit, the people of the UK will be experiencing mixed emotions. While some citizens are happy with the results of the vote, others are not. Some EU citizens living in the UK or UK citizens working in the EU have been stricken with fear of what their future may hold. A petition, signed by over three million people wanting a second referendum, was out within days of the vote (Ricketts). Many people wanted to know why a referendum happened in the first place when the lasting results are complicated and unknown (Ricketts). A lot of citizens are in fear for their own future and for their own country as well.

The UK citizens are also suffering economically. Many investors have pulled out of Britain because they believe “Britain to be worse off when ties with its biggest trading partner are ruptured” (Thompson); this has caused the pound to drop in value (Thompson). Britain also imports the majority of its products and these costs have increased, which consequently increases the prices of everyday items for the citizens (Thompson). Tourists may also decide to postpone their travels to Britain because of the rising prices, which will also affect the economy negatively.

So while the majority voted to leave the EU, the UK is facing many challenges internally. The process of initiating Article 50 and continuing on with it for at least two years will be costly and time-consuming. Many citizens are fearful for the future while suffering economically and the UK itself will suffer economically. Brexit will be a long process for May and for the citizens. As mentioned, a lot can happen in two years. It will be interesting for May, the citizens, and the rest of the world to see how this plays out.

Sources
News, BBC. "'Hard Brexit' or 'no Brexit' for Britain - Tusk." BBC News. BBC News, 13 Oct. 2016. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.
Ricketts, Rita. "Brexit: A Long March." New Zealand International Review 41.5 (2016): 2-6. Academic Search Complete. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.
Thompson, Mark. "Brexit Is Becoming a Big Fat Mess." CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 14 Oct. 2016. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.

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