Brexit is a portmanteau word combining ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’. It represents the prospect of the United Kingdom (UK) leaving the European Union (EU).
For over a year and a half there has been a mounting demand, particularly in England, for the country to shake off the dominance of EU laws and take a distinct stance on the immigration issue. The people of Britain voted in favor of a Brexit in a historic referendum held on June 23, 2016. 51.8 percent votes were cast in favor of Brexit. As anticipated, England and Wales seemed largely in favor of exiting the EU, while Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain with the union.
The European Union or EU is a partnership of 28 nations in the European continent. The partnership allows the countries to function as a single market, and for the people of the member nations to travel, live, and trade across the EU as if it were a single country. Most EU countries also use a single currency though this is not true of the UK.
The referendum itself did not mean the UK’s secession from the European Union. To leave the EU, the government of the UK needs to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Agreement (in force since 2009). This means that the UK must notify the EU in writing about its intention to exit. This will leave the UK a two-year period to detach itself and draft new trade and immigration agreements with other EU members.
Ms. Theresa May took charge as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in July 2016, the month after the referendum vote to leave the EU. She has been actively pursuing the Brexit and as of recent news reports, she plans to trigger Article 50 by end of March 2017.
As plans stand, PM Theresa May is likely to trigger Article 50 on March 29, 2017. By April, the remaining 27 EU members will convene and grant the European Commission to negotiate with the UK. By May this year, the negotiations are likely to begin and conclude by October, or November 2018 and by March 2019, the UK will formally withdraw from the EU.
The UK market floundered even as the EU referendum results were announced. It is quite likely that over time the UK will recover. The Brexit will be a setback to the EU, though. The UK’s contribution to the EU budget is considerable. As of 2015, the UK’s full membership fee was GBP 17.8 billion and after rebate, the UK paid GBP 12.9 billion. It is one of the highest paying members of the EU.
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