“Brexit” is a blend word formed by combining “Britain” and “Exit”. So, as the name suggests, it refers to UK’s decision to exit from the European Union (EU).
A referendum which was held on 23rd June 2016 and which had a turnout of 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting, concluded with a win for those who supported Brexit by 51.9% to 48.1%.
History of EU
Established in 1993 and with its headquarters in Brussels, European Union, as the name suggests, is a political and economic union of 28 member nations, covering a large portion of Europe.
Objectives of EU
The European Union’s main objective is to promote peace, follow the EU’s values and improve the well-being of nations. The European Parliament and other institutions see to it that these objectives are achieved.
The main objectives of EU are:
A common European area without borders
EU’s objective is to create a free and safe Europe with no internal borders. The citizens living in the area enjoy the rights granted by the European Union.
EU’s objective is to ensure smooth and efficient trade within Europe. Competition between companies is free and fair.
Stable and sustainable development
Its objective is to ensure Europe’s sustainable and steady development. It means balanced economic growth and stable prices. The European Union seeks to create a competitive market economy which takes into account people’s wellbeing and social needs. An important issue is environmental protection. Efforts are made to protect the environment and repair any damage made.
Scientific and technological development
The European Union supports the advancement of science and technology and invests in education. Another objective is to achieve a skilled workforce and a high standard of technological production.
Prevention of social exclusion
The European Union works hard to prevent social exclusion. It seeks to prevent people from drifting outside the labour market and society. Efforts are made to eliminate poverty. The Union works for equality. Minority rights are protected. Social security is improved. Men and women must be treated equally. Children’s rights must be protected and children given a happy childhood. Old people must be looked after and respected.
Solidarity between countries and people is promoted in the field of the economy, social equality and regions. The member states must be loyal to one another. It means that states must take responsibility for and be understanding of one another.
Respect for languages and cultures
The European Union respects the languages and cultures of the individual countries. National cultures and the common European culture are cherished and developed.
Common foreign and security policy
The European Union seeks to promote peace not only in Europe but also elsewhere in the world. It seeks to ensure that peace is maintained in Europe and that people have security. With the common foreign policy, the European Union wants to make sure that the resources of the planet are used sensibly and that the environment is not destroyed. The European Union also wishes to respect other countries and nations. It works for free and fair trade and tries to eliminate poverty. Human rights are important all over the world. The European Union follows the Charter of the United Nations and underlines the importance of common international rules.
The European Union’s general objectives are recorded in the Treaties of the European Union.
It also has its own parliament which sets rules even for petty affairs such as the mobile phone charges. EU also has its own currency known as euro, which is recognized as the official currency by 19 members of the EU.
Reasons behind Brexit
A common question that may arise in the mind of the readers is that why is Brexit even happening? Well, there are numerous reasons to it. The EU’s sources of income include contributions from member countries, import duties on products from outside the EU and fines imposed when businesses fail to comply with EU rules. The EU countries agree on the size of the budget and how it is to be financed several years in advance. That money then gets distributed amongst other member nations. As far as UK is concerned, it contributes more to the EU kitty and receives less. Those in favor of Brexit argue as to why should UK pay to other nations? While as per EU, UK is a rich country and although EU spends less in UK than the national contribution, the British economy gains much more from access to European markets and contracts
Another major issue that continues to concern the citizens of UK is that non-UK citizens who are a part of EU can now easily relocate and work in UK thus reducing the available opportunities for UK citizens.
Most importantly, the people in Britain don’t see themselves as Europeans, clearly, they don’t want to lose their British identity. UK citizens thus feel that they are getting exploited under such an arrangement.
However, every coin has two sides. The other school of thought argues that Brexit would rather wreck the British economy as the export market would suffer due to this as, being a part of EU, Britain can sell goods to the other members under terms which are beneficial to them.
Despite so many issues raised by the citizens, Brexit is still pending even though the referendum took place a long time ago. The withdrawal deal, which will decide how UK will leave EU, is yet to be passed. It is prudent to mention here that Brexit isn’t backed by British MPs who have rejected it thrice in British Parliament.
Basically, this withdrawal deal will have to address three key points:
UK will have to pay about 39 bn euros in order to break their partnership.
What will be the status of UK citizens settled in other EU countries?
What will be the status of citizens of EU member countries settled in UK?
To give both the parties adequate time to adjust, a specific period of time also called the transition period has been agreed by them, according to which there will be no huge changes between the date of Brexit and 31st December 2020.
The UK prime minister being in the favor of Brexit was forced to ask other EU leaders to postpone this deal twice because of its rejection by British Parliament. The final deadline is now 31st October 2019, however, UK can leave only if the Prime Minister manages to get her deal approved by the Parliament. Let’s see what’s in store for UK in the future.