The United Kingdom has been a member of the European Union (EU) since 1973. The European Union(EU), created in 1958, was initially called the European Economic Community, an integrated trade and monetary body whose objective is to link its member nations through economic interdependence.
Post Content - In Short
- Defining Brexit
- Advantages of Brexit
- Disadvantages of Brexit
Goods produced in the member countries can be sold in other countries that are a part of the EU without tariffs or duties. It also got rid of border control between member countries.
Apart from that, it has now extended its reach to climate, health, external relations, security, justice, and migration. The Union has its set of goals and values with acknowledgment to which the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.
On June 23, 2016, a referendum (public vote) was held in the UK for its withdrawal from the European Union. 52% of citizens voted to leave and 48% voted for the inverse. To refer to this surprising result that left the global market roiled, an abbreviation was coined as ‘Brexit’ which stood for ‘British Exit’.
The formal process for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU began on 29 March 2017 and in November 2018, an agreement was formed for its withdrawal. Even then, there were parties who proposed a second referendum to flip-flop the situation of Brexit.
After a few delays, a new prime minister and a thoroughly revised withdrawal agreement which was ratified by the UK Parliament and the EU, the UK formally exited the EU on 31 January 2020. A transition period for 11 months is underway and it is yet to be decided what the future holds for the UK-EU relationship.
Advantages of Brexit
1. The UK Reclaims its Sovereignty
Being a part of the EU required the British nation to cave into giving up their authority over certain national issues, reducing the powers of the UK parliament. Brexit would open the door for Britain as an independent country to connect to the rest of the world.
2. Immediate Cost Reduction for the UK
As a member of the EU, Britain, as one of the major influencing nations, played a huge role in contributing to the EU budget. Almost £8.6 billion was spent in one year alone! If this amount were to be saved as assets of the country, it could be used for various different purposes that benefit their inhabitants.
3. Prompt Reduction In Issues Due to Immigration
Following the laws of the EU, the British nation had to allow citizens from other member states to live and work in the UK and Britons to do the same in other nations. This led to a noticeably huge increase in immigration into Britain and the nation did not have a choice but to accept this rapid increase in the pace of immigration. Brexit would allow Britain to choose a pace that suits their nation perfectly.
4. Increase in Employment Rate
As a result of an immediate reduction in the number of immigrants, there would be a simultaneous increase in the number of job vacancies in the nation. Moreover, if the trade continues to flourish, the opportunities for employment are expected to multiply even more.
5. International Trade
Though it is true that Britain benefited from various international deals as a member of the EU, it is speculated that as an independent nation that will have full authority to make their own decisions, Britain will prosper a lot more. With all sorts of firms being able to participate in international trade with no regulatory burdens of a multinational governing body, the nation can thrive forward in this sector.
6. National Security
Now that the British nation does not have to abide by the rule of the unrestricted flow of people in and out of the nation, the movement of people can be monitored well reducing the chances of national security concerns due to criminal individuals by a huge factor.
A former Work and Pension Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith had expressed his concerns for this matter saying that the open borders meant easy and quick access for terrorism to enter the nation.
Disadvantages of Brexit
1. Loss of Foreign Investment
The European Union, being a multinational foreign body that holds a 25% share of the global GDP, has its fair share of power in matters of foreign relations and investments. In 2012, almost half of the foreign direct investment that the UK received was associated with the activities of the EU.
Due to the immense power of the EU in maintaining international connections, there is a high probability that Brexit would cause the nation a great deal of loss in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
2. Sharing of Intelligence Becomes Difficult
The current unstable political situations in various parts of the world with a few other regions expressing aggression, sharing of intelligence information among countries can prove to be extremely helpful.
However, a divorce from the EU would definitely lead to a restriction in the flow of such, at times confidential, information whose access would help create a safer environment for all citizens.
3. Shortage of High Skilled Labour
Brexit would require all citizens of the EU nations to return back to their own country, leaving a large number of job vacancies. At times, the criteria for the post is often not met by the people living in the UK, ultimately leading to an empty job vacancy. This could harm the potential economic growth of the nation.
4. Britons Living in Other EU Nations Must Return
Brexit would mean that the unrestricted immigration to and from the UK will be put to a halt, leaving 1.4 million people taking advantage of this agreement with a questionable status in the EU countries. The safest way for Britons to avoid conflicts will be to return and Britain would no longer be a country with diverse international culture.
5. Rise of Average Household Cost
The free of tax import and export of products would no longer be possible between the UK and the member countries of the EU, leading to a swift increase in the price of various items.
The Energy cost for the nation is expected to increase by 500 million pounds as the separation occurs.
The above-listed pros and cons of Brexit certainly prove that it is a quite complex situation. How this will turn out for Britain and the other countries of the EU can be answered with certainty only after the transition period elapses. Until then, the speculations of what the future may hold for the relationships between the countries continues to surprise the world.(Last Updated On: February 19, 2020)