All The Fuss About Brexit Exit and When Will UK Leave The EU?
Under the provisions of European Union Referendum Act 2015, United Kingdom (UK) decided to hold a referendum –also known as the Brexit referendum–on 23rd June 2016 across the country to decide whether it should stay or leave the European club. To what would become a razor thin poll, 51.89% of the citizens voted in favor of UK leaving the European Union (EU). Although the results of the referendum were not binding legally, the government of the UK had already promised to act upon the decision made in the public referendum. Keeping the vow, the UK government entered the withdrawal process on March 2017 thereby setting a deadline of March 2019 to complete the process after a series of Brexit negotiations –the processes formally coded in EU’s legal framework in the shape of article 50. Once the UK has entered the process of exiting the EU, there were several contentious issues that required a settlement before proceeding any further. On the top of the list, three issues got the lion’s share of attention including the amount of money UK owes to EU as a result of different outstanding mutual commitments and pacts, the fate of Northern Ireland border, and the possible outcomes for UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU and the vice versa. Currently, both the parties involved in the Brexit have hammered out the transition period –a period comprising of 21 months to help businesses get used to the post-Brexit rules and regulations –details and have already entered the next phase of negotiations: talks concerning the post-Brexit UK-EU relationship. As was settled during the first phase of negotiations, for the transition period of 21 months there will be free movement and the UK will be able to make trade deals that will go in effect only after the end of the transition period.
Despite the negotiations have already entered this stage, there are many people around the UK that still think Brexit will not happen. As far as these people are concerned, odds are not favoring what they want –or at least say. This is because both the ruling party in the UK and the main opposition party are pushing in favor of Britain leaving the EU. The current Prime Minister of UK, Theresa May, has had a wavering view regarding the Brexit vote. During the time of the referendum, she was outrightly against the idea of UK divorcing from the EU. However, following the resignation of David Cameron, she got a promotion from the job of home secretary to the prime minister of UK after the leadership election held in July 2016. With changing roles, May’s ideas regarding Brexit also changed. Soon after assuming the leadership role, Mrs.May held that although she was not in the favor of Brexit vote, she will respect what the citizens of UK decided in that fateful referendum of June 2016. During her tenure in office, she had already made huge strides in the direction of initiating and formalizing the Brexit process. Firstly, she initiated a two-year-long process for Brexit in March 2017 and also set up her negotiating goals while writing a letter to Donald Tusk, the president of the EU council. Secondly, while giving a speech in Florence, Italy, Mrs.May shrewdly pitched the idea of a transition period –that she later successfully approved from the EU. Lastly, she also put forth her agenda on post-Brexit relations between the UK and EU in one of the speeches that she delivered in March 2018.
EU and Brexit Dilemma
With all her efforts directed towards materializing the will of people which they revealed in the Brexit referendum, the journey of Mrs.May was far from being smooth. She found herself in deep trouble when her bluff to carry out early elections in 2017 backfired. Mrs.May decided to go with the snaps to muster greater support in House of Lords which she deemed necessary for Brexit negotiations to go smoothly. However, things did not turn out for May as she anticipated. Instead of gaining a majority in the House, she lost certain seats which made her government even more tenuous than before. Resultantly, Theresa May has to rely on 10 members of parliament from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party to maintain a majority. This move that went contrary to what May had calculated made the process of negotiations a bit harder for the UK’s prime minister. Notwithstanding the reduction in support from the House of Lords, May carried on with his agenda and kept the negotiating ball rolling.
While Theresa May was working out a way to negotiate the best possible deal for the Britain, voices regarding UK operating under the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and regulations were also loud and emphatic. The Hard Brexiteers or the hardliners are the ones who toe this line of argument. They state that Britain would be better off if it ignores the EU by making a no deal with the Union that will ultimately mean that the trade rules of WTO will be applicable on Britain just like other countries of the world. They also argue that this may save UK the time, effort, energy, and resources required to keep up with the lengthy withdrawal process. However, just like other things, ignoring any deal with EU and operating under the rules of WTO will have their own ramifications on the UK. For example, given that UK has majority of its imports coming from the EU countries, operating under WTO rules would mean tariffs on the imported goods that will ultimately result in a spike in consumer products within the country. In addition to this, UK enjoys the benefits of Europe’s open sky policy as a member of EU which it will not once it operated under WTO regulations; this can result in planes getting grounded in slew. Lastly, no deal can also inevitably result in the restoration of hard border policy in Ireland –an outcome that even many hard Brexiteers will not embrace. According to Oxford Economics, the long-term cost to the UK’s economy under the WTO trading guidelines could be between 1.5 and 3.9% of GDP by 2030. They have also predicted that the UK’s exports would be lowered by 8.8%.
What the F*&K is Happening with Brexit and When the F&*K Will UK Leave the EU
On the other side of the spectrum, the people who were against the whole idea of UK leaving the EU, seemingly, are now out of argument. At the time of vote, they held the opinion that the economy of UK will suffer as a result of Brexit. They presented a bleak picture for the future of UK where unemployment, inflation, low growth, and high interest rate would be reigning thereby making UK suffer economically. However, since the Brexit vote, conditions on ground were contrary to such ideas. Despite having all the Brexit vote related frenzy during the year 2016, UK managed an economic growth of 1.8 percent –second only to Germany’s 1.9% in the European Union region that year. Contrary to the calculations of many, the economy of the UK grew by the same rate in the following year. Inflation rose after June 2016 but has since eased to stand at 2.5%. Unemployment has continued to fall, to stand near a 40-year year low of 4.3%. Annual house price increases have fallen from 9.4% in June 2016 but were still at an inflation-beating 4.9% in the year to January 2018, according to official ONS figures. These statistics reveal that the picture of the UK’s economy as sketched by those who were against Brexit is a far cry from being gloomy. These statistics also reflect the economic conditions of UK after and vote and well reflect the future trajectory of the country’s economy. In addition to the economy slowly getting in better shape, the post-Brexit UK will have the opportunity to make trade deals independently with other nations without caring a thing for the EU. In this regard, several countries including China and Australia have already shown interest to make new trade deals with the UK after Brexit. The UK is exploring multibillion-pound free trade deals with China. While China would benefit from having greater access to the UK’s manufactured goods and investment, Brexit will further reduce barriers to the UK’s service industries like banking and insurance, along with other UK goods. Apart from having the luxury to make the trade deals, the UK will also get rid of stringent rules and regulations of EU in the post-Brexit era. Being the major financial contributor to the EU, the UK had to spend billions of dollars on EU membership costs. Once out of the club, Britain will no longer be obliged to spend mammoth amounts on the EU and the country can focus inward for its own economic growth, prosperity, and well-being.
After the first round of negotiations has already over and settlements were struck on a transition period of 21 months, there are two other debates that are underway regarding the status of UK in post-Brexit Europe. They include the decision of keeping UK in a single market or customs union or neither. Different sets of possible outcomes emerge while considering each of the three possibilities. For example, there are some –especially hard Brexiteers –who want to see the UK neither as a part of a single market nor as that of the customs union. The concept of the single market was seen by many as the single greatest achievement of the EU. Britain was a member of a free trade area in Europe before it joined what was then known as the common market. Free trade areas simply refer to these localities wherein countries can trade with one another without paying tariffs. The idea of free trade is different from that of the single market as in the case of latter, contrary to the free trade idea, different economies are dovetailed into one larger unit.
What the F*&K is Happening with Brexit and When the F&*K Will UK Leave the EU
Completed in 1992, the European Union single market allows the free movement of goods, services, money and people within the European Union, by considering all the different member nation-states as one country. It is possible to set up a business or take a job anywhere within it. The idea was to enhance regional trade, create jobs to increase employment rates and lower prices of consumer goods. However, converting the European Union into a single market place meant that a legal framework providing the rules and regulations for businesses of different countries was required. In addition to this, the legal framework was also needed to ensure a level playing field for all the members involved to avoid any form of exploitation or subjugation.
EU came up with a comprehensive legal framework to manage this single market created in the last decade of the 20th century. However, many critics say it generates too many petty regulations and robs members of control over their own affairs. In addition to this, mass migration from poorer to richer countries has also raised questions about the free movement rule. Theresa May has categorically rejected the possibility of the UK staying in the single market. On the other hand, Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, holds the opinion that for the UK to remain the part of the single market is still an option for the negotiators who will gather in Brussels to talk the withdrawal. He believes that only the option of sticking to a single market is what that will make the Ireland problem solvable and will also prove as a windfall for the businesses of UK. Overall, regarding the issue of a single market –that either UK will remain a part of it or not in the post-Brexit world –is still something that has varied opinions and voices across the UK.
What the F*&K is Happening with Brexit and When the F&*K Will UK Leave the EU
On the union level, the customs union is an organization of EU that ensures that all the countries charge the same import duties to nations that are outside the European club. It allows member states to trade freely with each other, without burdensome customs checks at borders, but it limits their freedom to strike their own trade deals. The difference with the free trade area is that in a free trade area no tariffs, taxes or quotas are charged on goods and services moving within the area but members are free to strike their own external trade deals. The single market is a very different beast – it is not just about the trade in goods. It allows the free movement of people, money and services as if the EU was a single country. Just like over the single market, views of both people and leaders in the UK are divided at best on the question of whether the country should remain part of the customs union or not. While Theresa May is adamant to keep the country out of both single market and the customs union after the Brexit, there are other leaders like Carboyn of the labor party who think doing the opposite will help the economy of UK. As of now, although there is consensus on a number of contentious issues already, there are still a number of areas over which both the leadership of the UK and people are divided. For the UK to remain a part of a single market or customs union or neither will only translate into a greater good for the economy of the country, if any such move has widespread public support. Any decision taken without paying heed to the aspirations of people will not be good for the political system of the UK and will ultimately prove to be baleful for the economy of the country as well.
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