The term Brexit It is the result of joining the English voices Britain y exit in a single word, which refers to the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU). Following the referendum held on June 23, 2016, the results obtained indicated that the UK would leave the EU. Those in favor of it remaining a Member State speak of the negative consequences on the British economy that this would have.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

What is 'Brexit' and when did it take place?

June 23, 2016 is the date on which a referendum took place by which British citizens would decide whether the United Kingdom would remain in the European Union or, otherwise, they would leave permanently.

It is what is known as Brexit, term formed from the union between the English voices British y exit, which literally means british departure.

The result of this referendum was 51,9% of the votes in favor of leaving the European Union, compared to 48,1% of votes in favor of permanence.

This means that the Brexit won the referendum and that, therefore, the United Kingdom will cease to be a EU Member State. In the words of former British Prime Minister David Cameron, this is one of the biggest decisions the country has faced in its entire history.

Causes and history

The United Kingdom became part of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973 and nineteen years later, in 1992, it became one of the twelve member countries of the European Union (EU) after the signing of the Maastricht Treaty.

However, their stay in the EU has always been subject to numerous exceptions that have slowed down the integration process since then. Thus, in the mid-1950s, the six founding countries of the EU (France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) invited the British Government to take part in the negotiations prior to the creation of the EEC.

However, this proposal was rejected from London considering the UK as a independent world power with more business opportunities outside.

It was not until 1961 when the United Kingdom gave its arm to twist in the negotiations to become part of the EU. The Prime Minister at the time, Harold Macmillan, of the Conservative Party, was the one who filed a request for official membership that same year. Accession did not take place until 1973, at the same time that Denmark and Ireland also became Member States.

However, the permanence of the United Kingdom to the EU has always been subject to a series of special conditions since the labor leader, Harold Wilson, held the first referendum on the exit of the EEC in 1975, with 67,2% in favor to stay.

With the departure of Margaret Tatcher in 1990, the characteristic British Euroscepticism remained. Following the arrival of John Major as Tatcher's successor, the UK got the biggest exception it has enjoyed since then: maintaining the pound sterling as the official currency and, therefore, not to become part of the euro zone.

Shortly after Tony Blair came to the government, who left the United Kingdom out of the Schengen Agreement and, therefore, Schengen area, thus limiting the free movement of European citizens between the countries that make up this area.

Previous negotiations

David Cameron, who announced the next day that he would not continue as prime minister following the result in favor of the leaving the EU, was not at any time in favor of this decision.

Now, before setting a date for the referendum, the Prime Minister negotiated with the European Union a series of conditions of permanence if the result of the referendum was favorable:

  • Social benefits: Citizens of other EU countries will not be able to apply for social benefits in the United Kingdom until 4 years after their arrival in the country.
  • Multiple community currencies: On the one hand, other currencies must be recognized within the EU as community currencies, not just the euro. Furthermore, non-euro countries will not be obliged to participate in bailouts.
  • Limitations on free movement- The UK may restrict the entry of non-EU citizens married to European citizens. It is a measure to curb "arranged" marriages. It also reserves the right to exclude those it considers a security risk even if they have no criminal record.
  • Bureaucratic structure of the EU: it is about providing greater facilities in the free movement of capital, goods and services, as well as improving the bureaucratic structure of the EU.
  • Sovereignty: it consists of expressly avoiding the forced commitment of all EU members to advance the political and federal integration of the European project. In short, that national parliaments have more weight than Brussels.

Results after the referendum

Although the overall result indicates that the United Kingdom will withdraw from the European Union soon, the truth is that the distribution of votes across the different nations that make up the United Kingdom is uneven.

The question the British had to answer was brief: Should the UK remain a member of the European Union or should it leave the European Union? In response to it and at a general level, the data obtained after the vote are summarized in the following table:

1. Leave the EU17.410.74251,9
2. Continue in the EU16.141.24148,1

It should be noted that the results vary greatly by nation. Thus, in Scotland, 62,0% voted in favor of remaining in the EU, while 38% were in favor of leaving it and 23,0% abstained.

As for Wales, 52,5% opted for 'no', while in England (including Gibraltar), the results were fairly even: 46,6% in favor of permanence and 53,4% ​​were in favor of leave the EU. Gibraltarians, however, were clear about it: 95,9% voted in favor of continuing as a member state.

We can conclude that the Scots show a clear pro-European tendency in contrast to the English, more favorable to continue as an independent power. However, the Scottish population represents only 8% compared to 84% of the English, so your decision could only make a difference in case the vote was very even.

Possible consequences

Among the consequences derived from Brexit those that affect the economy not just from the UK, but from other Member States. At the national level, leaving the EU would mean a contraction of British GDP of between 3,6 and 6%. At the European level, this reduction is expected to be between 0,2 and 0,5%.

In addition, the great attraction of the United Kingdom as one of the main EU financial centers it could be diminished, since it would lose its access to the European Economic Area (internal market of the EU). He Brexit also supposes the collapse of the pound sterling. On the first night after the referendum alone, it fell 18% against the dollar.

Many multinational companies established in the country could consider moving their headquarters to other countries. Specifically, the ambassador of Japan It has already warned that it will be a "hard" Brexit for the Japanese established in the UK, as they would lose access to the EU single market.

In the social field, it should be noted that the contrasts between social groups have been accentuated within the country. The xenophobia, racism and hate attacks against certain sectors of the population have increased since June 2016, especially against the Polish, Indian and Muslim community.

The UK's exit from the European Union also entails a series of disadvantages for other countries not only on the European continent, but on a global scale. In Spain, the biggest impact is on the sale of houses and the tourism sector, since the fall in the pound would mean a decrease in the purchasing power of British citizens.

In the world of sports, especially that of football, the abandonment of the United Kingdom would have consequences on Premier League and the rest of competitions of British origin. This is so because Great Britain has a series of requirements for non-EU players in order to participate in the championships.

El Brexit it also affects countries in America. Mexico is one of the main affected in terms of foreign trade. Also the price of the shares of the Mexican Stock Exchange it will be increased by its base in supply and demand, since Mexico is a country highly dependent on foreign investment.

Polls and opinions

The British want to leave Europe because they see a number of advantages in their favor. One of them is that they consider that the EU slows the economic growth of the United Kingdom, mainly because of the collection of billions a year in membership fees.

On the other hand, they also want the country to recover absolute control of its borders and, with this, reduce the number of immigrants who come to work. For their part, those who advocate staying in the EU allude to the strength that the UK's affiliation with the EU brings to the country.

They also mention the fact that trade with other countries of the bloc, as well as immigrants who travel to the United Kingdom willing to work, benefit the British economy. They consider that not belonging to the EU will affect their international status in a very negative way.

Those who are against argue that it would be a defeat for the European project, since this entails the rise of the so-called Europhobes and nationalisms in other European countries. They consider that it will be a hard blow for the EU, which will be lost and without a clear plan for the future.

There are several who believe that the Brexit, the victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential elections and the populism that is gaining strength in Europe are symptoms of:

  • The rise of xenophobia in the western world
  • The economic decline of the middle class
  • Discontent with representative democracy
  • The crisis of the welfare state

A widely questioned fact is the inequality existing among those who voted in the referendum. Although it was a democratic process, the majority of citizens who were in favor of leaving the EU have an average age of around 50 years.

On the other hand, the highest percentage of votes against corresponds to the young vote, regardless of the nation. This implies that the young will be the ones who will live the longest with the decision that the elders have made.

Questions from users

Is Brexit binding or could it be reversed?

The truth is that no and, to this day, Article 50 of the European Treaty by which the United Kingdom would begin the process of separation with Brussels has not yet been activated. For this, formal notification from the British Executive is necessary. In fact, there is a citizen petition circulating for the UK to hold another referendum in which more than 3,3 million signatures have already been obtained.

What role will Germany take in the event of Brexit?

Experts argue that the UK's departure would only cement Germany's role as a European leader. In addition, it must be taken into account that Germany loses a very important ally not only internally, but in foreign policy areas.

What benefits would Brexit bring to Spain?

One of the main advantages that the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU could have is the union of Gibraltar with Spain again. Gibraltarians want to continue to have access to the single market and the rights of free movement, as was reflected in the results of the vote, in which more than 95% voted in favor of permanence.

Will a visa be necessary to travel to the UK after Brexit?

For the moment, the requirements and documentation necessary to enter the UK continue as before. They have two years to reach new bilateral agreements with countries outside the EU.

As for what could be established if the Brexit finally comes into force, it is highly unlikely that Europeans will have to apply for a visa to enter the UK. Now, they would have to regulate visa freedom individually with each country or not.

For current requirements, we recommend you take a look at the following article: Tips, documentation and requirements for traveling to the UK.

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