Britain, for a few years, has been debating whether or not to leave the European Union and this possibility of Britain leaving the E.U. has commonly been referred to as “Brexit”. Originally proposed by Winston Churchill, ironically a British prime minister, this concept of unifying Europe really took off in the 1950’s. Think of the European Union as a governing force for most of the continent which was mainly put in place to act as a way to control Europe after the catastrophe known as the world wars. Being a member of the E.U. has benefits and consequences.
Membership of the European Union has plenty of benefits. While Europe has around 7% of global population, it accounts for around 23% of global nominal GDP. Nominal GDP being the monetary value of produced goods at the current market value. The economy of the nations in the E.U. is also helped by the free trade throughout the European Union. The E.U. also permits free movement of labor and free travel within its borders. As of 2010 around 1.6 billion British citizens lived in the E.U. outside of Britain. Also inside of the European Union consumers are free to shop without tariffs or extra charges which are of great use to travelers.
While the E.U. has many strong points, it also has a variety of points where it falls short. While free movement of labor can be of substantial use to a country there are great consequences that can accompany. As areas near the Middle East become more dangerous large populations of Eastern Europeans and Middle Easterners seek to travel and settle farther west in order to escape the growing threat of Isis. Britain has become a place to which people are flocking resulting in a limited availability of jobs and more expensive housing. As the E.U. is the governing power over this nation, Britain has no power to halt immigration nor do they have any control over their borders. There is also a 6,883-pound net fee on European Union membership.
Voting took place on June 23, 2016, and, with more than 30 million people voting, Britain makes a large jump by deciding to leave the European Union. Leaving the E.U. won the referendum 52% to 48%. Three regions voted to stay in the E.U. while the rest chose to leave. Negotiations for a British exit will take at least two years but the repercussions were felt immediately.
The vote to leave could not be missed on the global market. The pound fell 10% to the dollar, falling to a 31 year low, as the markets are extremely risky. Countries that invest in Britain as a route to the rest of Europe, such as the US, could see the markets plummet just as stocks in much of Europe did as a result of the vote. Major stocks all throughout Europe are down 6, 8, 10, and, even, 12%. The choice to leave will take away Britain's access to the economy of the E.U. and change European trade as we know it.
Britain’s choice to leave the European Union leaves many questions to be answered. The relationships between countries are bound to change as the thought to leave the E.U. comes to the front of the minds of many. The future of many countries is now a big question mark especially the countries the closest aligned with Britain such as Ireland, which is part of the E.U. Many things are bound to change due to this major decision of one small country.