Updated August 7, 2023
On 23rd June 2016, the United Kingdom (UK) made a historic decision to leave the European Union (EU), earlier known as the European Communities (EC). This decision was known as Brexit, a combination of “Britain” and “exit.”
The official exit date was 1 February 2020, marking the end of the UK’s membership in the EU, which had lasted since 1 January 1973. The UK was the only secular sovereign to exit the EU. The EU is a union of 27 European countries and some neighboring nations that joined in 1993 to promote peace and stability among its members.
After Brexit, the UK got back its authority and control over its laws, except for matters concerning Northern Ireland. The Withdrawal Act 2018 is a UK law to help with the process of leaving the European Union. It states that the EU rules and laws still apply in the UK. However, the UK can modify the EU laws according to its own preferences.
Table of Contents
- Brexit Meaning
- The United Kingdom’s (UK) separation from the European Union (EU) is known as Brexit.
- The main reason was that Britain wanted control over its own affairs instead of the EU making all the decisions.
- When Britain held an election (referendum) to see total citizens supporting the exit, 51.9% of citizens voted in favor of the separation.
- Forecasters predict that the UK may face a 4% reduction in productivity and a 15% decline in exports and imports.
The UK’s separation from the EU after four decades was as per the Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union. There were negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union to talk about the withdrawal terms and establish a new relationship.
|23 June 2016
|Brexit referendum/voting took place.
|29 March 2017
|The UK formally notified the European Council of its intention to leave the EU.
|19 June 2017 to February 2018
|The EU and UK began negotiations.
|28 Feb 2018
|Draft withdrawal agreement converted into legal terms.
|24 January 2020
|Withdrawal agreement signed by the EU.
|31 January 2020
|The UK leaves the EU and enters the transition period at midnight CET.
|1 February 2020
|EU-UK withdrawal agreement comes into force.
|31 December 2020
|The transition period ends, and the UK leaves the EU single market and customs union.
The UK and the EU had talked about the rights of citizens and a transition period for people to adjust to new laws. They also addressed financial settlement and other separation matters. They made decisions about Northern Ireland, Cyprus, and Gibraltar to help cooperation between Spain and the UK.
They also discussed citizens’ freedom to work and live between the UK and the EU. As per the negotiations, UK nationals would require a visa to stay in the EU for more than 90 days in a 180-day period. Furthermore, as the UK will no longer be part of the EU, it can set its trade policy and negotiate deals with other countries.
Why did Brexit Happen?
During the Brexit electorate, 51.9% of the UK’s citizens voted to leave the European Union. Here were the most common reasons for citizens to vote supporting the separation were concerns regarding the following:
- Sovereignty: Many in the UK believed that the EU was overly regulatory, so they wanted direct control to make independent decisions and set its own policies, laws, etc.
- Politics: For decades, the UK’s membership in the EU has been a hotly debated issue among political parties, creating immense pressure on the government to address the issue.
- Immigration: More people immigrating from European countries, especially Eastern Europe, impacted public services and job opportunities for UK citizens.
- Economy: It could help Britain negotiate its trade deals, potentially leading to better economic opportunities outside the EU.
- Expensive Budget: As the EU sets the common budget, Britain felt that the contribution expected was too expensive.
Arguments Against Brexit
While there were valid reasons supporting Brexit, there are also opposing arguments against it. Here are the major concerns and disagreements the citizens had:
- Trade & Economy: Many organizations were concerned that leaving the EU could harm the UK’s economy due to potential trade barriers, tariffs, and reduced foreign investments, as the EU allowed free trade with other member states.
- Global Influence: Some experts believed leaving the European Union could affect the UK’s stronger position in the global market.
- Security Concerns: Once the UK is not a part of the EU, several politicians thought there could be security matters concerning cross-border law enforcement and intelligence sharing.
- Impact on Citizens: Most citizens were worried about how Brexit could affect the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa.
- Impact on Jobs: Citizens were also afraid that separating from the EU could lead to job losses in sectors dependent on EU trade and foreign investments.
After years of negotiations, the UK achieved Brexit and gained the following benefits:
- Sovereignty: Leaving the EU allows the UK complete control over its laws, regulations, and policies.
- Trade Independence: The UK can now negotiate trade deals with other countries outside the EU, potentially fostering new trade opportunities and partnerships.
- Financial Savings: As a non-EU member, the UK is no longer required to contribute to the EU budget, resulting in potential cost savings.
- Policy Flexibility: The UK can adopt regulations and laws that tailor to its specific needs without being bound by broader EU policies that may not align with its interests.
- Global Opportunities: Being independent allows the UK to forge closer ties with countries worldwide and pursue trade agreements that suit its economic priorities.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. Can the UK rejoin the EU after Brexit?
Answer: Yes, the UK can reapply for EU membership after Brexit. It would be treated like a new application, requiring approval from all existing EU member states. Thus, the UK must meet EU requirements for new members and agree on membership terms.
Q2. What is the Brexit referendum?
Answer: The Brexit referendum was the vote that took place in the United Kingdom on 23rd June 2016 to decide whether the country should leave or remain in the European Union. The majority of UK citizens (51.9%) voted in favor of leaving, and the UK officially exited the EU.
Q3. Is Brexit good or bad?
Answer: We cannot conclude if Brexit was good or bad before analyzing all the long-term consequences, which are still in progress. As of now, there have been both benefits and challenges due to the separation. For instance, the UK has sovereignty and trade flexibility, but there are economic disruptions, trade barriers, and immigration changes.
This article provides you with all the information on Brexit. From the reasons supporting and opposing arguments against the separation, we discuss the timeline and the negotiation involved in the process. You can check out other similar articles,