Britain’s Exit from the EU A Brief Overview, Causes and Consequences -By Shaikhul Islam Imran
Millions of UK people are severe antagonistic to the existence of Britain in the EU as they consider it as an ominous to the British sovereignty, economy and others as well. The UK parliament conducted on 23 June 2016 a referendum to decide whether they should exist in the European Union or leave from the organization. People supported to leave the EU by 52% to 48%. The campaign was made in name ‘Brexit’ as the short of Britain’s exit. The referendum was non-binding but has a significant role in the political arena as the BBC notes “it would be seen as political suicide to go against the will of the people as expressed in a referendum.” Following the Britain’s exit from the EU would bring massive political and economic consequences on both the sides. Both the EU and UK have greater possibility to fall in danger following the Brexit. Here has been made an attempt to make a brief history of the EU and the UK, causes and consequences of the Brexit from different aspects and so on.
European Union and the Britain
The European Union (EU) is a politico-economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It began after World War Two to foster economic co-operation, with the idea that countries which trade together are more likely to avoid going to war with each other. Five years after World War II ended, France and Germany came up with a plan to ensure their two countries would never go to war against each other again. The result was a deal signed by six nations, namely Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany, to pool their coal and steel resources in 1950. Seven years later a treaty signed in Rome created the European Economic Community (EEC). The treaty is the foundation of today’s European Union.
The European Union was formally established when the Maastricht Treaty, came into force on 1 November 1993. The treaty also gave the name European Community to the EEC, even if it was referred as such before the treaty. In 2002, euro banknotes and coins replaced national currencies in 12 of the member states. Since then, the euro zone, countries accepted Euro as their currency, has increased to encompass 19 countries. The organization has three supreme bodies for conducting their activities. The European Commission is the most powerful civil service of the EU. It runs by 28 commissioners, one from each of the member country. It administers the budget of the money that EU spends. The next is the European Parliament, based in Brussels having 751 of members of the parliament. The council of the European Union in Brussels and the European Court of Justice in Luxemburg are also two important branches of the EU.
The Accession of the Britain/United Kingdom to the European Economic Community took effect on 1 January 1973, after the ratification of the treaty which was signed in Brussels on 22 January 1972 by the then Prime Minister Edward Heath. The UK had first applied to join back in 1961 but this was vetoed by French President Charles de Gaulle. The UK and Denmark are not bound to accept the Euro as their currency. There are some other states or regions unilaterally accepted Euro as their currency but these countries do not officially form part of the euro zone and do not have representation in the European Central Bank as Kosovo and Montenegro.
Brexit campaign and poll conducting
British withdrawal from the European Union is a political goal that has been pursued by various individuals, advocacy groups, and political parties from across the political spectrum since the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973. The official campaign groups for leaving the EU was Vote Leave, Other major campaign groups included Leave EU, Grassroots Out, and Better Off Out. There are some other non EU affiliated groups campaigned for leaving the EU. Vote Leave was created in October 2015 and is a cross-party campaign, including members of Parliament from Conservatives, Labour, and UKIP. Grassroots Out campaign was started by politicians from a mixture of political parties including Peter Bone, Tom Pursglove, Liam Fox of the Conservatives, Kate Hoey of Labour, Nigel Farage of UKIP and Sammy Wilson of the DUP. The ex Prime Minister David Cameron was strong supporter of the existence of UK in the European Union. he resigned from his post after the result was published as the people voted for leaving the EU.
In 1975, a referendum was held on the country’s continued membership of the EEC (the foundation of the EU), which was approved by 67.2% of voters on a turnout of 64.6%. To decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union, A referendum – a vote in which everyone (or nearly everyone) of voting age took part – was held on Thursday 23 June. 52% voters supported for leaving and 48% voters supported for remaining in the EU. The referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting. It was the highest turnout in a UK-wide vote since the 1992 general election.
Arguments for Britain to leave the EU
Although the “leave” campaign often focused on emotional arguments about immigration, there are in fact many reasons those in favor of leaving believed it would benefit the UK. According to Timothy B. Lee, senior editor at Vox.com, there are seven main reasons for which people has been inspired for leaving the European Union as follows-
The EU threatens British sovereignty and this is probably the most common argument among intellectual-minded people on the British right, expressed by Conservative politicians. Over the past few decades, a series of EU treaties have shifted a growing amount of power from individual member states to the central EU bureaucracy in Brussels. On subjects where the EU has been granted authority — like competition policy, agriculture, and copyright and patent law — EU rules override national laws.
The EU strangling the UK in burdensome regulations. A lot of critics say the EU’s regulations have become increasingly onerous and sometimes these EU rules sound simply ludicrous, like the rule that you can’t recycle a teabag, or that children under eight cannot blow up balloons, or the limits on the power of vacuum cleaners.
The EU entrances cooperative interests and prevents radical reforms. This is the mirror image of the previous two arguments. Whereas many British conservatives see the EU as imposing left-wing, big-government policies on Britain, some on the British left see things the other way around: that the EU’s antidemocratic structure gives too much power to corporate elites and prevents the British left from making significant gains.
The EU was a good idea but the euro is disaster but luckily, the UK chose not to join the common currency, so there’s little danger of the euro directly cratering the British economy.
The EU allows too much immigrants. The intellectual case for Brexit is mostly focused on economics, but the emotional case for Brexit is heavily influenced by immigration. EU law guarantees that citizens of one EU country have the right to travel, live, and take jobs in other EU countries. In recent years, hundreds of thousands of Eastern Europeans have come to Britain to do a job.
The UK could have a more rational immigration system outside the EU. While many Brexit supporters simply want to reduce the amount of immigration overall, others argue that the UK could have a more sensible immigration system if it didn’t have the straitjacket of the EU. EU rules require the UK to admit all EU citizens who wants to move to Britain, whether or not they have good job prospects or English skills.
The UK could keep the money it currently it sends to the EU. The EU doesn’t have the power to directly collect taxes, but it requires member states to make an annual contribution to the central EU budget. Currently, the UK’s contribution is worth about £13 billion ($19 billion) per year, which is about $300 per person in the UK. While much of this money is spent on services in the UK, Brexit supporters argued that it would be better for the UK to simply keep the money and have Parliament decide how to spend it.
Political and Economic consequences of Brexit
Following the leave of the Britain from the EU, massive political and economic consequences may bring into the both sides. In this situation, experts say different opinion as to what will be situation but it is not the time to visualize the exact situation but we have to wait and the time will say the.
Brexit could lead a breakup of the UK
Brexit could also change the United Kingdom in a more fundamental way. It’s called the “United” Kingdom because it’s made up of four “countries” — England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. But with Britain now on its way out of the EU, there’s a danger it won’t stay united for very long.
Scotland supported Remain on Thursday by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent. And the Scots in particular have never been entirely satisfied with English domination, as shown by the 44 percent of Scottish people who voted to make Scotland an independent country in 2014. They like having the UK be part of the EU in part because it provides a counterweight to English power within the UK.
So Britain’s exit from the EU could strengthen the hand of Scottish separatists. A key Scottish leader has already signaled that she wants to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence. If that vote succeeded, Scotland would likely petition for admission to the EU in its own right. A similar, but possibly more troubling, situation could emerge in Ireland, which has long been divided between a protestant north that’s part of the UK and an independent Irish republic in the South.
The Brexit will cause problems for Britain’s economy
The economic hazards for the U.K. are pretty clear: A Brexit would almost certainly cut off Britain’s access to the E.U.’s internal market, and definitely impede negotiations over any new political or economic relationship with the E.U. The free movement of goods, services and capital throughout Europe is tied to the free movement of people, and the E.U. would not want to encourage other states to leave the bloc by allowing Britain to leave and still maintain its trading rights.
In the short run, uncertainty about Britain’s future relationship with the EU, its largest trading partner, could push the UK into a recession. The British pound has lost about 9 percent of its value since the vote. Critics say the economic effects could be large. The UK government has estimated that exiting the EU could cause the British economy to be between 3.8 and 7.5 percent smaller by 2030 — depending on how well negotiations for access to the European market ultimately go. Other reports have found smaller but still significant impacts.
Brexit means significant uncertainty for migrants
One of the most important and controversial achievements of the EU was the establishment of the principle of free movement among EU countries. A citizen of one EU country has an unfettered right to live and work anywhere in the EU. Both Britons and foreigners have taken advantage of this opportunity.
Currently there are about 1.2 million Brits living in other EU countries, while about 3 million non-British EU nationals live in Britain. Thanks to EU rules, they were able to move across the English Channel with a minimum of paperwork. Britain’s exit from the EU could change that profoundly. It’s possible, of course, that Britain could negotiate a new treaty with the EU that continues to allow free movement between the UK and the EU. But resentment of EU immigrants — especially from poorer, economically struggling countries like Poland and Lithuania — was a key force driving support for Brexit. So the British government will be under immense pressure to refuse to continue the current arrangement.
EU may either breakdown or reorganized
The anti-immigration sentiment that could take the U.K. out of the E.U., could also lead to the departures of other member states. Either the UK’s exit will trigger a gradual disintegration of the EU and more likely Britain itself, or the EU will be reformed. In the Czech Republic, support of the EU is continuously going down, without any significant reasons, said Mat?j Stropnický, Green Party leader, Czech Republic.
Boris Buden, philosopher, Faculty of Art and Design, Bauhaus University, Weimar says that he sees Brexit rather as a symptom of a deep crisis of the European Union, or, to put it more precisely, as an effect of the failure of European integration.
London will lose the business competition
The City of London could lose business to rivals such as Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin. Some City firms could move out of the UK rather than wait to see what new relationship is forged with the EU. Banks would be most affected, but hedge funds and private equity companies might thrive without the threat of EU regulation.
Legal consequences of the Brexit
A Brexit would result in a loss of 43 years of interconnection between UK and EU law. In order to avoid huge gaps in UK law, the Government would in effect need to keep a large part of EU law by converting it into UK law. Affected law ranges from the rules on insolvency jurisdiction to vast swathes of EU health and safety, product liability, consumer protection and employment law applicable in the UK. Older national laws which were superseded by EU laws or implementation of Directives could be considered for revival – but are unlikely to meet the needs of 21st century Britain without significant updating.
Process of leaving the EU
Britain’s vote to leave the EU is not legally binding, and there are a few ways it could theoretically be blocked or overturned. However, as the BBC notes, “it would be seen as political suicide to go against the will of the people as expressed in a referendum”.
Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union establishes the procedures for a member state to withdraw from the EU. It requires the member state to notify the EU of its withdrawal and obliges the EU to then try to negotiate a withdrawal agreement with that state. Once Britain invokes Article 50, it will have a two-year window in which to negotiate a new treaty to replace the terms of EU membership. Britain and EU leaders would have to hash out issues like trade tariffs, migration, and the regulation of everything from cars to agriculture.
In the best-case scenario, Britain may be able to negotiate access to the European market that isn’t that different from what it has now. Norway is not a member of the EU, but it has agreed to abide by a number of EU rules in exchange for favorable access to the European Common Market.
In this political situation, the EU will make a severe bargain with to protect its interests and also to make sure of protecting of other EU states. Brexit could bring greater danger to the EU but a constructive approach of the other EU states can protect a political and economic crackdown to the EU. On the other, in the new post-Brexit era, the UK might want to show the rest of the world that it had not retreated into isolationism, and is still totally committed to NATO and the United Nations. There could be pressure to spend more on defense and take a pro-active stance in world trouble spots. But one thing never give up is that time has to come and we have to wait until the reality happens.
Shaikhul Islam Imran is a law student at University of Dhaka; he writes about Law, Human Rights and international politics.