Written by Balqis Ariffin
Image source: https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/645667/Brexit-EU-European-Union-Referendum-David-Cameron-Economic-Impact-UK-EU-exit-leave
Universally, the departure of Britain from the European Union (EU) or infamously known as Brexit has triggered controversial debate and conflict worldwide. This is because such exit will significantly affect the United Kingdom’s political, economic, social as well as relationship with other European nations. Besides that, it also has signified the division between the citizen pertaining to this matter as there is a difference in view and acceptance in the withdrawal.
A referendum which was held on 23rd of June last year has examined the notion of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union, in which 51.9% out of 71.8% or about 30 million people participated in the poll have voted for Brexit whilst only slight differences in amount of 48.1% of public voted against it. Specifically, both Scotland and Northern Ireland constitute the highest percentage of remaining in the union, in the meantime, Wales and England recorded much higher of vote whereby the people agreed and consented of Brexit.
Initially, European Union was referred to as European Economic Community (ECC) in the year 1957, in which it only consisted of several nations only namely Belgium, Netherlands, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and France. Afterwards, United Kingdom managed to participate in the European Union after a failed attempt as it was rejected by former France President, President Charles de Gaulle.
Besides that, the tension between Britain and the union has existed in a long time during the administration of Margaret Thatcher, in which the United Kingdom was forced to paid higher amount of financial payment due to shortage in farming. Moreover, a similar referendum was conducted in 1975, in which the outcome of it is different than today as more than half of the turnover wished to remain in the European Union.
Later on, in 1993 the European Union was established through Maastricht Treaty, emphasized on the convergence of its member through economy and politic such as implementation of single currency which is known as euro, right of nationality and similar foreign policy.
However, there were several conflicts that occurred between the European Union nations and Britain, in which the United Kingdom has experience banned due to mad cow disease and the prolonged legal dispute of 27 years on chocolate has eventually enabled the United Kingdom to sell its chocolate in neighboring countries when the European Court of Justice meted out the verdict.
This is because some of the countries had criticized the recipe used as they claimed that it consists of excessive milk and also condemned the use of vegetable oil in it, hence they demand the product to be labeled as chocolate substitute, household milk chocolate and vegelate (Pruitt, 2017).
Most of all, the former Prime Minister, David Cameron has resigned due to the outcome of such vote as he has always been against the departure. Eventually, the vacant position was filled by former home secretary Theresa May, who managed to win without any contest from other parties quit (Hunt & Wheeler, 2017). Currently, a general election is being held in the United Kingdom.
Besides that, Theresa May has taken several measures to invoke the Article 50 in the European Union treaty as on March 29 this year such mandate was delivered to the Council of the European Union. This implies the official intention of withdrawal from the union, hence the formal date of departure is March 30 of 2019 (Pruitt, 2017).
Therefore, the significant issue that can be observed through the background of the United Kingdom and the European Union is the existence of several conflicts which occurred even before Britain participates in the union. Eventually, it is already a symptom of disagreement and discrepancy in managing the relation with other European nations.
FACTORS OF DEPARTURE FROM EUROPEAN UNION (EU)
Furthermore, the primary reasons that majority of people in Britain wanted to leave the European Union are due to financial compensation which cost about billions per year but the profit gained is slight compared than the reimburse of membership charges. Moreover, the union also imposed rules and regulations against Britain, hence the citizen wanted their nation to create and control the decision making of its own laws and regulations.
Apart from that, the issue of immigration is also the contributing factor in which through the withdrawal from the union, United Kingdom could significantly control and administer its border (Hunt & Wheeler, 2017). This is evident as there were high number of immigrants from the European Union that came to Britain which is about 250,000 last year alone and the total of the current union immigrant that reside is 3.2 million in 2015, which is much higher compared than other European Union members as the United Kingdom is amongst the three nations that accept people to work.
However, with the outcome of the referendum, it has eventually influenced the number of immigrants as such percent seems to be dropped by 51,000 people from European Union and non-European Union countries (O’Leary, 2017). This is evident as the previous study conducted by Matti and Zhou pertaining to the result of the referendum found that immigrant is the main factor that influences the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
In addition, issues relating to regulation, employment and economy only contribute to such issue moderately, hence it contradicted with majority of notion which think that economy is the primary concern of the Britain citizen. This proves to be at fault as the level of concern implies the lowest score since the great recession (Matti & Zhou, 2016).
Most of all, the regulation of free movement amongst the member of the European Union, in which visa is not required to reside in affiliate of the union. Basically, such implementation is perceived as a threat to the people as it is a mere indirect conception and establishment toward the so-called United States of European nations (Hunt & Wheeler, 2017).
Personally, it can be stated that such reasons for departure are comprehensible and understandable as it came from the notion and emotion of insecurity as well as allegiant and pride toward their own country. However, the primary question is that such dissimilarity in belief has subsequently led to segregation of its citizen, thus there is different of understating in context of nationalism in Britain amongst the people.
BREXIT AND POLITICAL ECONOMY
Most of all, the main highlight of such exit was that the poll that serves as an indicator of class division due to globalization and industrial deterioration, in which can be seen through two different standards of life according to the setting of industrial areas namely Wales and England. Basically, the primary circumstance that triggers such revolt is the wage obtained in such region is relatively low.
Furthermore, such distinction of region is measurable through education, age, identity and especially social class of the turnout. Therefore, through the referendum conducted it can be seen that such outcome clearly signify the current political economy of United Kingdom.
Most of all, such separation was also due to the fall of industrial state in Britain, which somehow dated back during the Victorian era to the administration of Margaret Thatcher until the current economic situation of issues experience by local manufacturer due to China’s control and power, in which the employment rate was lessen. Moreover, the arrival of the immigrant in significant amount of number has eventually influenced the United Kingdom as well.
Apart from that, in the aspect of globalization it can also be observed that with high concentration of union implementation and strict regulations in Scandinavia, it has significantly influenced social protection and communal wage of the economy. Eventually, the immigrant is susceptible to unemployment and social segregation as well.
In addition, the issue of single market also plays a significant role in the Brexit’s political economy, as both London city and the financial industry will try to justify their access of the single market as well as injected it in the European Union (Pearce, 2016). Besides that, it is broadly known that the London or which is commonly referred to as the City in this context, favored soft Brexit in which can be understand that an affiliate of the single market needs to value the concept of free movement (Hunt & Wheeler, 2017).
Basically, it must also be known that dissimilar perspective was due to the fact that London is considered as the financial center of the world and also Brexit is a form of barrier for the local financial industry to attain its success. However, the concerns over the future of United Kingdom are also unpredictable and unforeseeable as it relies on several ongoing matters. Most of all, it can be observed that there is a significant acceptance of Brexit as different people or institution have dissimilar benefits or advantages through the European Union.
THE EFFECTS OF WITHDRAWAL FROM EUROPEAN UNION (EU)
Basically, certain people stated that the departure from the European Union will affect the Britain’s economy, in which higher cost is required in the area of purchasing and selling of goods with other foreign nations. Conversely, some claimed that it does not significantly influence as the remaining European Union’s member will not cut ties with Britain in term of trading and business.
Furthermore, it will also influence the United Kingdom’s economy which is perceived as the financial center of the world, this is because with the absent of single market and access of land to Ireland it will jeopardize the position of Britain. Apart from that, Britain’s citizen will be susceptible to lose the citizenship right and free emergency health care. Most of all, United Kingdom needs to engage in World Trade Organization rules for trading with its customs authorizations and charges (Hunt & Wheeler, 2017).
The initial effects that Britain suffered are enough to signify the challenges that this nation will experience with the absent of European Union, especially in the aspect of economy and politic instability.
Therefore, it can be obviously seen that it is difficult to foresee the impacts of such departure as prolonged duration is necessary to outline any effects on political, economy and culture of Britain. However, the burden should not lie solely on the United Kingdom as the European Union should also concern over the issues that led to such withdrawal and amend essential regulations to ensure common good is attainable and satisfaction between its members pertaining to law that is taken.