– By Akash Khemka
If you are watching the news lately you may have heard a lot of Brexit and probably a few words like European Union, control, immigration and don’t forget single market, Article 50, exiting the EU. So what’s this all about? Or how it all started?
When the EEC was the first set up in the 1950s, Britain was invited to join as a founding member but the British government decided against it. So EEC was set up in 1958 but within barely three years by 1961, the British government had come to an opposite conclusion that they should belatedly seek membership in EEC. So in 1961, Britain applied for membership of the European Economic Community. This was vetoed by French President Charles de Gaulle and soon after his resignation in 1969, Britain joined the EEC in 1973. This was a dramatic U-turn in British policies. So what was the reason behind it? One reason for Britain’s particular interest in joining the EU was that – this was a clear way to prevent Britain from political isolation, and maintain their influence around Europe in the face of shrinking of the British Empire. As well as it also introduced Britain with the single market, an area of visa-free travel and free trade, as well as a place where employment and residence can be sought in member countries by all its members’ citizen.
Leaving EU, A Landmark Decision in History
So the UK has been a member of the EU for more than 40 years, and it’s a big deal to leave it. No other country has ever left EU before, so it was and still is a new area of concern for everyone involved. For many years, UK politicians have been discussing or raising topics about whether it is better for the UK to be in or out of the EU. Why or what is making them discuss about leaving the EU.
Let’s take the example of the 2008 financial crises. Many economists agree that the European Central Bank respond effectively by launching “Recovery Programme”, but this effort took its toll especially since most of the money had to be borrowed. From late 2009, the most exposed eurozone countries began to have a problem financing their debts leading to a new development in the crises, The Sovereign Debt Crises that was extremely severe than it needed to be. Unemployment rose, and tax revenue fell. And also some Britain citizens didn’t like that many foreigners were moving to Britain after the EU was reformed.
The new EU made it much easier for citizens to migrate to another country. This led Britain’s foreign-born population skyrocketed from 4 million to 9 million in 20 years (1994-2014). People in Britain were facing issues with job opportunities, as lots of people across Europe speak English, so it was natural for immigrants to look for jobs in Britain. Soon immigration/race relations become one of the country’s most important issues.
EU-Britain Relationship Under David Cameron’s Tenure
So back in 2015 when David Cameron became Prime Minister through general elections, being true to his words and promises, he made during election campaigns, he set a date for the vote to take place on Thursday 23 June 2016. More than 33 million adults voted. And that’s the day 17.4 million adults voted to become the first country to leave the EU.
Once the result of the vote was announced, David Cameron- who actually believes that Britain will be safer, stronger and better off by remaining in a reformed European Union- resigned and soon after this, Prime Minister Theresa May took over the job in the following month in July 2016. Ever since then, the UK government has been trying to sort out ways, opinions, MPs votes for what the UK’s relationship with the EU will be like when it leaves.
Why they haven’t left the EU yet? What is the transition period? What happens when the transition period ends? The vote was three years ago, but the UK still haven’t left.
Moving Forward with Article 50 and Transition Period
This was when Article 50 was introduced, nobody has ever put Article 50 into practice before-until now- “Article 50 process is now underway and in accordance to the wishes of the British people, the UK is leaving the European Union” a message delivered by Theresa May when she spoke to parliament back in London on 29 March 2017 was the day when the process for the country to leave the EU officially kicked into action.
A length of time, called the transition period, has been agreed to allow UK and EU to agree on a deal and to give businesses the time to adjust. The key date now is 12 April-the UK will need to tell the EU what it wants to do next by then. For example, they can ask for an extension.
Recent Developments on the Issue
Recently, it was conveyed that Theresa May hopes to bring her No-Brexit Deal back to parliament again as it was rejected for a third time by MPs. Some of the MPs have suggested for holding a second referendum, a softer version of the Brexit to be proposed by Mrs. May, which would make country still accessible to the single market while being able to make deals without the rest of the EU. And it appears poised to trigger a general election if parliament fails to agree with a way forward. If this kind of tension between MPs and Theresa May on the withdrawal agreement continues to exist between them, then there might be a chance that the UK may leave without a deal on 12 April.